Intelsat, Ltd., the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services, announced today that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has agreed to purchase a specialized UHF communications payload aboard an Intelsat satellite scheduled for launch in 2012. As part of the “hosted payload” contract valued at approximately $167 million, Intelsat will arrange for the construction and integration of the UHF payload with its satellite. Under the agreement, Intelsat is expected to operate the ADF payload and provide related services for 15 years following the launch.
The payload will be aboard the Intelsat 22 satellite, which will be positioned at 72º East longitude, over the Indian Ocean region, providing a footprint well suited to the communications needs of the Australian military. The satellite, to be built by Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, will be based on a Boeing 702B bus and will have 48 C-band and 24 Ku-band 36 MHz equivalent transponders, plus a UHF payload with eighteen 25-kHz channels. The UHF band is widely deployed for military satellite communications because of its adaptability to small, mobile terminals used by ground, sea and air forces. The ADF is purchasing part of the UHF payload and has an option to purchase the remainder.
“We are honored that the Commonwealth of Australia chose Intelsat as its partner for this creative program,” said David McGlade, Chief Executive Officer of Intelsat. “This contract represents a milestone in the development of hosted payloads to support long-term government needs. As this ADF program demonstrates, every commercial satellite going into orbit creates opportunities for governments to deploy mission-critical capabilities, with significant cost benefits and quicker time to in-orbit operations.”
The ADF selected Intelsat to provide the satellite payload following a process of competitive source selection that began in August 2008. The UHF payload will be compliant with U.S. Department of Defense Mil-Std-188-181 and Volna Treaty (Russian) requirements for interoperability.
“ADF needed a cost-effective, near-term solution for reliable UHF tactical communications,” said Don Brown, Vice President for Hosted Payload Programs at Intelsat General Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Intelsat. “By leveraging the commercial satellite capabilities of Intelsat, the ADF obtained good value for its investment in high-quality communications.”
Hosted payload programs offer government customers expedited access to space on an economical basis as compared to standalone military satellite programs. Intelsat routinely launches multiple satellites per year as it maintains its fleet of over 50 spacecraft that span the globe. By working with Intelsat, government planners have access to multiple launches annually in a variety of orbital locations, providing needed flexibility in terms of timing, location, and types and sizes of payloads.