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SmartSat CRC terminal provides ‘more stable’ military SATCOM


The SmartSat CRC consortium of Australian research organisations has unveiled a prototype terminal it believes will deliver more stable and secure military satellite comms.

The pioneering CHORUS tech, developed after three years of research, uses optical communications links that ensure higher data transference rates than traditional radio frequency systems.

It also mitigates radio frequency vulnerability to interception, electronic warfare and jamming.

SmartSat CRC is a collaboration between universities and research organisations that partner with industry and are funded by the Australian Government.


It aims to develop “know-how” and technologies in advanced telecommunications and IoT connectivity, intelligent satellite systems and Earth observation next-generation data services.

“By combining RF communications with the more secure optical communication technology, CHORUS has enabled the development of an entirely new class of satellite communications terminal. Existing military systems could be retrofitted with this new technology, eliminating much of the cost of replacing terminals across military vehicles and ships,” Professor Andy Koronios, chief executive officer of SmartSat CRS, said.

“CHORUS has the potential to position Australia as a leader in developing and delivering an entirely new class of military satellite communications service for the Australian Defence Force and its allies.

“This includes developing optical communications to provide higher bandwidth, lower observability, and more secure communications than current RF-only technologies for tactical communications between maritime, aircraft, and land vehicles.


“We believe this technology has additional commercial applications, such as commercial shipping and cruise liners. CHORUS is a testament that Australia can achieve world-first outcomes in advanced research, development and manufacturing.”

The CHORUS terminal – Compact Hybrid Optical-RF User Segment – was developed by organisations including the Defence Science and Technology Group, EOS Space Systems and the University of South Australia. The hybrid technology also uses radio frequency systems, too.

In January, SmartSat CRC appointed board member Dr Michele Allan AO as chair following the passing of Dr Peter Woodgate in late 2022.

Dr Allan is currently the chair of the boards of Charles Sturt University, the Food and Agribusiness Growth Centre, Trusted Autonomous Systems Defence CRC, and Wine Australia. She also served as chair of Meat and Livestock Australia and the William Angliss Institute. Dr Allan also currently serves as a non-executive director of the CSIRO.

Now in its fourth year, Dr Allan hopes that SmartSat CRC will support the continued growth of Australia’s space industry.

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