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AUKUS to build deep space radar in WA

The AUKUS defence coalition will build three new radars to track dangerous objects in deep space, including one in Exmouth, Western Australia.

The new space domain awareness capability, planned to be operational in 2026, will complement new systems built in both the US and the UK.

It’s hoped the three will together provide 24-hour global and all-weather coverage that’s difficult to obtain with existing technology.

Defence Minister Richard Marles made the announcement with his counterparts, the UK’s Secretary of State for Defence, Grant Shapps, and the US Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin.


“As the world becomes more contested and the danger of space warfare increases, the UK and our allies must ensure we have the advanced capabilities we need to keep our nations safe,” said Shapps.

The new Deep Space Advanced Radar Capability is partly funded by the US Space Force and is currently being developed by Northrop Grumman.

“Australia’s interests in space are not bound by geography,” said Minister Marles.

“Strengthening Australia’s defence capabilities in the space domain and working with our partners is a prudent response to our changing strategic environment.”


It’s hoped all three sites will be built by 2030, with the Exmouth site alone creating up to 100 jobs.

“DARC offers higher sensitivity, better accuracy, increased capacity and more agile tracking than current radars capable of tracking objects in geosynchronous Earth orbit,” said the US Space Force in a statement.

“Its ability to provide global monitoring extends beyond inclement weather and daylight, which are limitations of current ground-based optical systems.

“The capability will also be used to protect the essential services that rely on satellites and communication from space, including everyday aspects of modern life such as mobile phones and TV.”

As part of the deal, the three countries signed a memorandum of understanding that will last for 22 years.

“This investment harnesses technological advances to maintain a leading edge in Australia’s capability and contribute to strategic deterrence in the region,” added Minister Marles.

“We will continue to work with our partners to build a region that is stable, peaceful, and prosperous, and where sovereignty, including space sovereignty, is respected.”

Adam Thorn

Adam Thorn

Adam is a journalist who has worked for more than 40 prestigious media brands in the UK and Australia. Since 2005, his varied career has included stints as a reporter, copy editor, feature writer and editor for publications as diverse as Fleet Street newspaper The Sunday Times, fashion bible Jones, media and marketing website Mumbrella as well as lifestyle magazines such as GQ, Woman’s Weekly, Men’s Health and Loaded. He joined Momentum Media in early 2020 and currently writes for Australian Aviation and World of Aviation.

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