Satellite owner and operator Optus is set to lead a joint bid with Raytheon Australia and Thales Australia to respond to the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) JP9102 tender.

The JP9102 programme is aimed at delivering a fully sovereign military satellite communications (SATCOM) system that will enable the joint command and control of deployed joint task forces.

In leading this bid team, which is referred to as Team AUSSAT, Optus is expected to use its experience in operating seven telecommunications satellites to deploy software-defined satellite Optus 11 in 2023 for Australia and New Zealand.

Optus chief executive Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said: “The bid team, Team AUSSAT, has a unique proposition being the only team with an unrivalled history of owning and operating satellites in Australia, by Australians, for Australians – drawing synergies from two partner companies with their exceptional pedigrees in building and delivering world-class defence capabilities.”

Raytheon will leverage its expertise in delivering certified and integrated space systems and Thales will draw on its experience in supplying advanced secure communication solutions.

Raytheon Australia managing director Michael Ward said: “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Optus and Thales Australia to provide a next-generation satellite technology solution, and we look forward to offering our global space surveillance and operation capabilities to the Australian Government through this important partnership.”

Team AUSSAT will be competing against several other contractors, including Airbus, Boeing Defence Australia and Lockheed Martin Australia for JP9102 tender.

Australia’s Optus has launched ten satellites, operated 13 spacecraft, and provided support to more than 100 international space programmes since 1985.