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AV-Comm selected by Lockheed Martin for SouthPAN contract

AV-Comm Space and Defence has won a contract with Lockheed Martin to build and maintain four satellite ground station facilities for the SouthPAN project.

The Southern Positioning Augmentation Network, SouthPAN for short, is a joint initiative between the Australian and New Zealand governments to create an extremely accurate satellite positioning system.

The system is expected to improve the location accuracy of users from the current standard of about 10 metres to as little as 10 centimetres.

Geoscience Australia and Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) are responsible for the roll out and operation of the program.


As part of the $25 million contract, AV-Comm will be responsible for building and servicing four radio frequency uplink subsystems which will all incorporate 11-metre diameter satellite dishes.

In addition to the uplink facilities, AV-Comm will also provide assistance and support for the installation and continued maintenance of 28 global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) reference stations throughout both Australia and New Zealand.

The project will see AV-Comm engage up to 100 local businesses for work related to the systems, according to AV-Comm managing director Michael Cratt.

“We are excited to be partnering with Lockheed Martin Australia on this groundbreaking project that will unlock so many benefits for Australia’s emergency services, transport and aviation industries, as well as allow the development of autonomous vehicles,” he said.


“It’s a real vote of confidence in Av-Comm’s ground segment engineering and project management capability, and importantly, it will mean we can further develop space-related manufacturing and maintenance here in Australia,” Cratt went on to add.

Lockheed Martin Australia is the prime contractor for the $1.18 billion contract, which is set to span 19 years.

The SouthPAN program will leverage the second generation Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS), developed by Lockheed Martin, to augment location signals for the GNSS network, the US Global Positioning System (GPS) as well as the European Union’s Galileo system.

David Ball, Lockheed Martin Australia’s regional director for space, commented on the contract with AV-Comm.

“With the increasing demand for space systems and services, our company is committed to growing a long-term and sustainable space presence in Australia.”

“We are proud to be partnering with Av-Comm, an Australian second-generation, family-operated business with local manufacturing experience.”

Liam McAneny

Liam McAneny

Liam McAneny is a journalist who has written and edited for his University International Relations journal. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Wollongong in 2021. He joined Momentum Media in 2022 and currently writes for SpaceConnect and Australian Aviation. Liam has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations as well as astronomy.

Send Liam an email at: [email protected]

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