The AUKUS partners Australia the United States and the United Kingdom have entered into an agreement to advance Australia’s defence space capabilities – but there is no immediate role for local industry in the project.
At the second AUKUS Defence Ministers’ Meeting in California, ministers discussed accelerating capabilities that provide all three partners with timely and reliable information in space environments.
As part of this, the nations will collaborate on the Deep-space Advanced Radar Capability to provide 24-hour continuous global and all weather coverage to track and identify objects in deep space.
An Australian Deep-space Advanced Radar Capability site – one of three globally – will be installed near Exmouth in Western Australia and is expected to be operational by 2026.
The Australian site will create construction jobs, but Australian industry involvement seems limited.
The test and demonstration phase of the system has already been completed (pictured), with the US Space Force moving to procure a full system from industry incorporating the lessons learned.
In a media release Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles promised only ‘further opportunities for Australian industry through the operation and sustainment of the site’.
Marles said strengthening Australia’s defence capabilities in the space domain and working with AUKUS partners was a prudent response to a changing strategic environment.
Marles said: “This investment harnesses technological advances to maintain a leading edge in Australia’s capability and contribute to strategic deterrence in the region.
“We will continue to work with our partners to build a region that is stable, peaceful and prosperous, and where sovereignty, including space sovereignty, is respected.”
Picture: John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability demonstration