MEMBER for Riverina and Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack today turned the first sod to mark the construction phase of a Defence Satellite Ground Station at Kapooka.

Mr McCormack said the Wideband Satellite Capability project involved the acquisition and sustainment of a new Satellite Ground Station in the East (SGS-E) of Australia and the implementation of a Wideband SATCOM Network Management System (NMS).

“I’m pleased to be at Kapooka – The Home of the Soldier – today with representatives from the project’s contractors, Northrop Grumman Australia and Viasat, for this ground-breaking activity which will provide flexibility to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) wideband beyond line-of-sight communications,” Mr McCormack said.

“The construction will be a boon for the Wagga Wagga region’s economy as this $24 million investment means goods and services can be sourced from local businesses throughout the construction phase and ongoing maintenance jobs.

“This is a wonderful result for the Riverina and Kapooka Army Base to remain a vital cog in Australia’s Defence Force network into the future.”

Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, said the new ground station would provide site and frequency redundancy to the Wideband Global Satellites visible from mainland Australia.  

“Today’s ceremony represents the beginning of construction work which is critical to the broader $220 million program to significantly enhance the communications capability of the ADF while providing local jobs during the construction phase,” Minister Pyne said.

“Once completed in 2021 the ground station will provide the satellite communications gateway on the east coast of Australia, and in conjunction with the Wideband SATCOM NMS will deliver a holistic satellite communications network management and situational awareness capability to the ADF.

“This will ensure the ADF has an end-to-end communications service consistent with the operational need for network enabled operations.”

Shane Manning