Australia has selected Lockheed Martin [LMT] as the preferred bidder for the Australian Defence Satellite Communications System, known as JP9102, which will build the country a sovereign military satellite communications system.

Four teams bid on the project — teams led by Airbus, Boeing [BA], and a team jointly led by Optus, Thales, and Raytheon [RTN].

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) announced the award on April 3. Lockheed Martin Australia, a subsidiary headquartered in Canberra, will move to the next stage of the procurement process.

JP9102 is a multi-billion project to build Australia’s first sovereign satcom system of the Indo-Pacific ocean regions. The project includes Geostationary Orbit (GEO) communication satellites, multiple ground stations across Australia, and a management system and two new operations centers.

“Currently across Defence there [are] up to 89 capabilities which depend on satellite communications,” said ADF Air Vice-Marshal David Scheul, head of Air Defence and Space Systems Division. “Once delivered, the new system will increase the resilience, agility and flexibility of Defence’s military satellite capability.”

A team of Australian companies is also part of the project: Inovor Technologies, EM Solutions, AV-Comm, Linfox, Shoal Group, Ronson Gears, Calytrix Technologies, Conscia, Clearbox Systems, DXC and Blacktree Technology.

Lockheed Martin has partnered with the government of the state of Victoria to make Victoria the engineering and technical hub for the project, saying the investment will create more than 200 advanced space industry jobs there.

“This capability will provide the Australian Defence Force with robust connectivity and reliable information when and where they need it, and by extension, contribute further to the growth and development of Australia’s defense and space industries,” commented Warren McDonald, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand.

Correction: A previous version of the story stated L3Harris and Inmarsat were part of Lockheed’s bid. This is incorrect, they were part of Northrop Grumman’s bid. 

This article was first published by Defense Daily sister publication Via Satellite.