Released on Wednesday, November 14, 2007
US and Australia Partners on Wideband Global SATCOM System
11/14/2007 - WASHINGTON -- In a move that will provide the United States and Australia assured access to worldwide satellite communication resources, the two countries signed an agreement today to cooperate on the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system, expanding the WGS constellation to six satellites.
"The US-Australia WGS partnership is another example of the strength of the alliance between our nations and the effectiveness of relationship-building and development of mutually beneficial capabilities by the USAF," said Bruce Lemkin, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force (International Affairs).
Once operational, the WGS system will provide a quantum leap in communications bandwidth for the US and Australian warfighters. It will be DoD's high capacity communications satellite in the X and Ka-band frequency range.
WGS will provide deployed forces with unprecedented access to bandwidth-intensive applications such as video streaming, teleconferencing, real-time data transmission, and high-resolution imaging. In addition, the new wideband capability will offer support for the new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles, such as the Global Hawks and MQ-9 Reapers.
"The Air Force saw a 'win-win' opportunity to partner with Australia to gain much needed additional capability while also satisfying Australia's SATCOM requirements," said Gary Payton, Deputy Under Secretary of the Air Force for Space Programs.
The first WGS satellite is scheduled to achieve initial operational capability in early 2008 with full operational capability expected in 2013 following the launch of the sixth satellite.
"This is the epitome of cooperative development," Mr. Lemkin concluded.
Space & Strategic
DoD - Department of Defense
SATCOM - Satellite Communication
USAF - United States Air Force
WGS - Wideband Global SATCOM