Home Air Australia picks Lockheed over Northrop for sovereign SATCOM capability

Australia picks Lockheed over Northrop for sovereign SATCOM capability

Photo: Lockheed Martin

The Australian defense ministry has selected Lockheed Martin as the preferred bidder for Project JP9102, its new sovereign satellite communications system.

The multi-billion dollar JP9102 project will provide the Australian defense force (ADF) with a sovereign military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) system defined by its extensibility, agility and resilience.

“We are proud to be selected as the preferred bidder to deliver this critical capability to the Australian defense force,” said Warren McDonald, chief executive, Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand. “This capability will provide the Australian defense force with robust connectivity and reliable information when and where they need it, and by extension, contribute further to the growth and development of Australia’s defense and space industries.”

Launched in July 2020, JP9102 is the Australian government’s project to develop its first fully owned and controlled military satellite communication constellation. The new system will supplement, and then replace, the existing defense satellite communications system, with a focus on supporting operations within the Indo-Pacific region.

Another contender in the program was Northrop Grumman, who partnered with Inmarsat in 2021, to bid for work under the program.

Lockheed Martin said it would leverage its experience in space-based mission solutions and resilient satellite communications networks for its JP9102 offer.

“We are excited to work with the Australian defense force and Australian industry to develop a robust solution for JP9102,” said Robert Lightfoot, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin Space. “We are bringing to bear all of Lockheed Martin’s companywide capabilities as well as our commitment to supporting allied nations to provide an operationally proven system that meets mission needs in terms of coverage, capacity, resilience and extensibility of the constellation.”

McDonald added that a significant amount of the content for Lockheed Martin’s proposed JP9102 solution will be via Australian small and medium enterprises and that the company is committed to knowledge sharing and technology transfer.

Lockheed Martin has assembled a team of Australian companies including Inovor Technologies, EM Solutions, AV-Comm, Linfox, Shoal Group, Ronson Gears, Calytrix Technologies, Conscia, Clearbox Systems, DXC and Blacktree Technology to deliver ground and control segments and beyond for JP9102.

Lockheed Martin has also partnered with the Victorian government to establish Victoria as the engineering and technical hub for the company’s JP9102 solution, an investment that will create more than 200 space industry jobs in the state.