The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has announced the final operating capability (FOC) of a new satellite ground station.

Located near Geraldton in Western Australia, the station has commenced operations.

This marks a major milestone in the government’s plans to boost the satellite capability of the country.

Named Satellite Ground Station – West, the station was delivered under the Joint Project 2008 Phase 3F along with BAE Systems Australia.

In order to significantly improve Australian Defence Force communications capability, Australia entered a partnership with the US in 2007 to gain assured access to the Wideband Global Satellite (WGS) Communications System.

It is expected to offer anchoring capability to WGS Communications satellites situated over the Indian Ocean.

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said that the new station is one of the three defence satellite ground station projects to be completed.

Reynolds said: “The Defence Satellite Communications Program is providing the Australian Defence Force with a suite of strategic and tactical satellite communication capabilities.

“Satellite Ground Station – West will provide Defence with greater access to the overall capacity available from Wideband Global Satellite-Communications satellites.

“This offers real-time operational and logistical information, which is essential for command and control of deployed forces.”

In May, the Australian DoD’s Defence Science and Technology signed a new strategic agreement with Gold Coast company Gilmour Space Technologies to work on space technologies.