Lockheed Martin has beaten Airbus in the race for Australia's biggest space tender to build the country's first sovereign military satellites to combat new threats in space.
Defence on Monday announced Lockheed Martin Australia as the preferred tenderer for the new Australian defence satellite communication system, known as Joint Project 9102, for the Indo-Pacific ocean regions.
Head of Air Defence and Space Systems Division Air Vice-Marshal David Scheul said the multi-billion dollar project would deliver Australia's first sovereign-controlled satellite communication system.
Dozens of defence capabilities already depend on satellite communications as the data super-highway becomes a future theatre of war for advanced economies.
Lockheed Martin Australia chief executive Warren McDonald said a significant amount of the content would come from local businesses.
Local companies including Inovor Technologies, EM Solutions, AV-Comm, Linfox, and Shoal Group are already lined up to be part of the project.
Ronson Gears, Calytrix Technologies, Conscia, Clearbox Systems, DXC and Blacktree Technology are also on the list.
Lockheed Martin Australia, one of five bidders, last month announced it would set up a space engineering and technical hub for the project in Victoria if it won the bid - creating more than 200 advanced space industry jobs in the state.
It has already launched a space-focused program with the STEM Punks education group to inspire Australia's future high-tech workforce.
Defence said it looked forward to working with Lockheed Martin Australia to deliver this important capability to the defence force.
"Once delivered, the new system will increase the resilience, agility and flexibility of defence's military satellite capability," Air Vice-Marshal Scheul said.
Expected to cost $3 to 4 billion, the new system will include new communications satellites, multiple ground stations across Australia, a communications management system and two new operations centres.
The company will progress to the next stage of the defence procurement process to fine tune the tender details.
Australian Associated Press