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Australia-US Joint Military Comms Ground Station

MOU Signed For Australia-US Joint Military Communications Ground Station

The Australian Department of Defence and the US Navy have now signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which sets out the governing arrangements for a joint military communications ground station near Geraldton, Western Australia.

The joint ground station will support the US Navy's Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), which is a satellite-based mobile phone network designed to support US and Australian military users, including deployed forces.

The signing of this MoU completes a process that was first approved by the Government on 5 December 2005 and previously announced on 15 February 2007. This is in accordance with caretaker conventions.

Works are expected to commence in early 2008 and the joint ground station is scheduled to become operational in March 2010.

The new joint ground station will be collocated with the Australian Defence Satellite Communications Station near Geraldton but will be managed separately.

The new joint ground station will comprise three small buildings housing the electronic infrastructure; power and spares; three 18-metre satellite dishes; and two smaller antennas. Once complete, it will be unmanned and will require only call-out contractor maintenance support.

It will be a joint Australia - US ground station; it will not be a US military base. The facility will be hosted as all other Australian-US joint facilities - on the basis of our full knowledge and concurrence.

Other joint facilities already hosted by Australia are the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap and the Joint Geological and Geophysical Research Station. In addition, the US has access to the Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt.


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