The Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) is considering purchasing a share in the US Air Force (USAF) Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system to counter cyber attacks, defence minister Peter MacKay has revealed.

The $477m satellite access, also known as Global Mercury, will be activated immediately following the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the DND and USAF.

The Gazette has quoted the minister as saying: "This is part of Canada’s effort to protect crucial information that we and commercial interests possess that have an effect on the economy."

The WGS is the US Department of Defense (DoD) highest-capacity satellite communications system designed to provide fast, flexible, broadband communications for US war-fighters and their allies worldwide.

Upon completion in 2018 the system will have nine communications satellites for handling large amounts of bandwidth transmitting and exchanging secure data.

Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands are also planning to become part of the network system.