The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has renewed a contract with British satellite provider Inmarsat until 2027, broadening the agreement’s scope to include managed services. The deal extension, totalling $291 million (221 million Australian dollars), comes only a month after the UK, as well as Australia, decided to boost technology sharing and investment in their respective space industries.

“Inmarsat has sponsored ADF satellite communications needs at home and abroad for over 30 years,” said Brigadier Gregory Novak, commander of the ADF’s Defense Strategic Communications Division. This cooperation has improved our capacity to help a wide variety of ADF activities while still enhancing the standard of life for our deploying personnel.”

The 10-year deal, which was first agreed in 2017, is now worth a total of $331 million Australian dollars. According to Inmarsat, the partnership has expanded to cover the company’s whole portfolio of controlled services. ADF will use its Operational Monitoring and Control System (OMCS) to map and distribute bandwidth throughout the fleet in real-time digitally.

The agreement follows the signing of a ‘Space Bridge’ arrangement between the United Kingdom and Australia on February 23 to increase connections to commerce, investment, and academic study opportunities. The “world’s first” Space Bridge alliance, according to United Kingdom Science Minister Amanda Solloway, is another move toward the nation’s goal of being a “worldwide efficient space power.” One of the quickest-growing industries in the United Kingdom in the space sector. By 2030, the United Kingdom expects the industry to produce 30,000 new workers.

Australia plans to recruit 20,000 additional workers in the space industry over the next five years. Since exiting the European Union early that year, the United Kingdom began signing a free-trade arrangement (FTA) with Australia in 2020 July. The fourth phase of FTA talks between the two nations ended on March 5, as well as a fifth is scheduled to commence soon. Negotiators conducted 51 meetings over the span of two weeks, including 27 separate chapter regions. Since the beginning of the talks in July 2020, we have been able to have 170 sessions in all.

Both negotiating teams exchanged text and additional ideas before the round, including multimedia, labour, and technological trade barriers, enabling negotiators to strengthen their practical negotiations. Negotiators were able to develop common awareness and consolidate texts in most section areas due to this. Negotiators have recognised mutual ambition and lingering points of difference to move on ahead of the coming round due to focused engagement.

Rules of Origin, Customs and Professional Services have also seen substantial strides. The bulk of the text in the sections on Good Regulatory Practice and Small and Medium-Sized Companies has been decided upon. The latter’s implementation demonstrates both Australia’s as well as the UK’s contribution to ensuring that companies of all sizes will profit from the FTA.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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