Cooperating Overhead from Down Under

The sixth Wideband Global satellite currently in production will join USAF’s satellite communications constellation—this time purchased by Australia. With WGS-6, “We increased our overall capabilities at zero additional cost … while Australia was able to realize 100 percent of their global SATCOM requirements,” said Heidi Grant, USAF undersecretary for international affairs. With the proliferation of weapons such as remotely piloted aircraft, “demand for bandwidth is not only increasing exponentially for us, but also for our allies,” noted Grant, making satellites an ideal opportunity for cooperation. Following Australia’s lead, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and New Zealand have begun preliminary discussions with the Air Force on similar efforts. “In the end … we’ll have increased the capabilities and capacity of all parties, and all but ensured C4ISR interoperability” while strengthening allied relationships in the process she explained at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, Tuesday afternoon.