Spy chiefs to get $ 500m satellite link boost
HIGH-quality images from commercial satellites will be beamed straight to Australia’s intelligence authorities under a half-abillion-dollar plan to improve space-based surveillance.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the Turnbull government will invest $500 million to speed up access to images captured from satellites already in orbit.
The Australian Defence Force and other national security agencies will be able to use the data for surveillance operations in the region, including border security operations.
Other government bodies will also have access to the images which will be used to monitor natural disasters such as bushfires and for humanitarian missions.
The Defence White Paper was released last year by the Turnbull government.
It stressed the importance of space intelligence for Australia’s military over the next 20-year period.
Australia currently relies on US satellites and commercial operators for information but has previously toyed with the idea of sending its own satellites into space. Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said the new contracting arrangements would provide improved value for money for taxpayers and create 22 new jobs.
At present the government must wait for the operators of satellites to send images from the operator’s receiving stations.