THE AUSTRALIAN Government has identified a future requirement for an independent space-based surveillance system, using optical and synthetic-aperture-radar satellites.

A decision is expected to be made, in the next six-eight months on the selection of partners, with which to conduct a project-definition study. The Australian defence forces are requesting funding from fiscal year1996-7 for the study.

Additional funding of more than A$200 million ($150 million) is being sought from 1998 onwards for the tendering and acquisition of a microsat system. It is hoped to have a surveillance satellite in service around the period 2001-2.

The system would give the Australian military and Government intelligence agencies an independent capability to gather surveillance information. Australia now depends on the USA for space-based intelligence gathering.

A long-range satellite communication capability to support mobile military deployments has already been identified as a requirement. The Defence Science and Technology Organisation is now studying options for a military frequency band system.

Source: Flight International