• (NASA/ Unsplash)
    (NASA/ Unsplash)

Hanwha Defense Australia, Hanwha Systems Corporation and global space based communications company OneWeb have signed an MOU to explore the joint provision of connectivity services to the Australian defence market.

The MOU was announced by Hanwha Systems on July 19 at Farnborough International Airshow site in the UK, and will facilitate discussions between the three companies regarding how they may combine their key capabilities to secure competitiveness required for participation in the Australian Military Satellite Tactical Internet program.

The partnership will bring together HSC's vehicle type satellite communication terminal solutions and system integration; HDA's K9 self-propelled howitzer and Redback armored vehicle platforms and on-the-ground knowledge of the Australian customer; and OneWeb's LEO satellite connectivity services.

By combining OneWeb's high-speed, low latency LEO satellite connectivity services and HSC's satellite communication antenna currently under development through a self-funded scheme, HSC is aiming to provide satellite internet solutions for the Australian military customers’ platforms.

Leveraging HSC's history of high performance C4I system programs for the Korean forces, HSC/HDA have responded to the Land 4140 Request for Information (RFI), a multi-layered communications program that will link satellite communication with ground communication networks.

Land 4140 Tranche 1 capability elements include Beyond Line of Site (BLOS) SATCOM, High Capacity Data Networking (HCDN), ICT Mobility, Network Modelling, and Modular Open System Standard (MOSS).

“We are happy to be working with our sister company HSC and with OneWeb to explore opportunities to expand our Australian footprint into the space domain,” Hanwha Defense Australia Managing Director Richard Cho said. “This is an important growth area for us.”

In August last year, HSC invested $300 million in OneWeb. Prior to this, HSC also acquired Phasor Solutions, a UK-based satellite communication antenna developer in June 2020 and incorporated Hanwha Phasor in an effort to secure satellite communication antenna technologies required to connect several thousands of satellites and ground stations. Hanwha Phasor is now concentrating on the development of next generation antenna designs and developments.

In December 2020, HSC also made a $30 million investment in Kymeta, an electronically steered antennas company in the US, which was followed by an additional investment worth $11 million in March this year, forming a strategic partnership with Kymeta. HSC and Kymeta are collaborating for satellite antenna development and working on developing local and offshore markets.

“We have high hopes on this MOU, which will give us greater opportunities to bring tangible outcomes together, already having made significant investments in this technology area," Sungchul Eoh, CEO of Hanwha Systems, said.

“Going forward, we will cooperate with various companies with competitive technologies, at home and abroad, in order to strength our position in the global market, particularly to approach such countries as Saudi Arabia and Poland, who require satellite internet.”

OneWeb is currently scaling up its global satellite constellation with the aim of delivering low latency, high-speed connectivity services worldwide. 428 satellites have already been deployed, representing almost 70 per cent of the network, and the company has initiated services in the Arctic region and is working to expand its capabilities in the coming years to bring coverage for the Australian military and other global markets.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Hanwha to utilise our satellite connectivity solutions in the Australian defence market," Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, commented. "We know firsthand how Hanwha’s high-quality technological thinking and development complements the capabilities of OneWeb’s LEO network, ensuring customers worldwide benefit from improved connectivity.”

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