Australian navy selects SATCOM modernisation provider

EM Solutions and CASG at Russell Office in Canberra
SEA1442 Phase 5 Work Package 1 contract signing by EM Solutions and CASG at Russell Office in Canberra.

EM Solutions, a subsidiary of Australian company Electro Optic Systems, has been awarded a contract to modernise the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN’s) satellite communications (SATCOM) systems under the Department of Defence (DoD)’s Project Sea 1442 Phase 5 programme, the company announced on 16 June.

Under the A$150 million (US$101 million) contract awarded by the DoD’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG), EM Solutions will progressively replace the primary and alternate SATCOM systems aboard the RAN’s existing fleet of vessels with its King Cobra and Cobra SATCOM terminals over a period of seven years.

The contract also includes an additional A$50 million in “material and service purchases” by the DoD once the initial deliveries by EM Solutions for Project Sea 1442 Phase 5 are approved.

The deal marks the largest contract ever signed by EM Solutions, which noted that it will enter the contract as the prime contractor.

“The signing of this contract is the result of a close collaboration between EM Solutions and CASG since the announcement in early 2022 that EM Solutions had been selected to respond to a limited release tender for Work Package 1 of the Sea 1442 Phase 5 program,” said John Logan, EM Solutions Vice President of Programs. “It has been a learning journey to ensure the delivery of optimised, cost-effective capability to our sailors in the future.”

“Through a technology evolution program EM Solutions aims to support Navy in managing SATCOM technology evolution and obsolescence management continuously,” added Logan..

According to EM Solutions, the King Cobra and Cobra SATCOM systems are multiband terminals operating in the X- and Ka-band frequency range. The systems are capable of operating on both military SATCOM networks such as the Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) system as well as commercial networks such as the Inmarsat Global Xpress (GX) or the O3b mPower satellite constellations.

According to company specifications, the King Cobra has an antenna size of 2.2 metres with an above deck unit (ADU) that weighs about 950 kg and a height of 3.1 metres. The Cobra system weighs around 225 kg and has an antenna size of 1 metre.

by Jr Ng