From the ground, up

Raytheon Australia partnerships key to sovereign space solutions

Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station in Exmouth, Western Australia, is where Raytheon Australia supports ground station operation, construction, heavy engineering and maintenance to provide global space surveillance capability.

Strong partnerships with the Australian Defence Force combined with expertise and experience continue to ensure Raytheon Australia is delivering sovereign space solutions.

For more than 20 years, Raytheon Australia has had a continued focus on being a complex systems integrator for space. Notably, over the past decade, the company’s 140-strong team based at the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station in Exmouth, Western Australia, has supported ground station operation, construction, heavy engineering and maintenance to provide global space surveillance capability .

From this totally self-sufficient off-grid land base 1200-kilometres north of Perth, a Raytheon Australia team provides continuous space surveillance operations: 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

“Our team has a depth of expertise to deliver simultaneous operations from multiple mission sensors distributed throughout the Harold E Hold Defence Precinct,” said Julie Bown, Raytheon Australia’s general manager for Mission Systems.

In support of U.S. Air Force and Royal Australian Air Force Space Surveillance Alliance, Raytheon Australia operates and maintains two important systems, which are used to detect, track and catalogue satellites, near-Earth objects and space debris as part of the global Space Surveillance Network:

  • The C-Band Radar that can track space objects at ranges of up to 3000-kilometres and is operated remotely at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia with an Exmouth-based backup capability., Surveillance Network. The C-Band Radar played a role in the SpaceX Crew Dragon launch in 2020.
  • The Space Surveillance Telescope, a 360-degree telescope relocated from the U.S. to Australia in 2017, operated remotely out of RAAF Base Edinburgh. Raytheon Australia assumed principal contractor responsibilities for the SST in 2020.

“We are an integral player in providing critical beyond-line-of-sight battlespace data and space domain awareness with the C-Band Radar and SST,” said Bown.

“By providing dependable and capable assets, Raytheon Australia is directly contributing to improved identification techniques used to closely manage different types of space debris,” she said.

"We allow global space agencies to avoid situations caused by spacecraft collisions.”

Bown said the Raytheon Australia team is focused on releasing the full potential of satellite data for Australia.

“We have been delivering integrated space systems for decades and are now capitalising on our knowledge and experience to develop a true sovereign capability,” Bown said.

Raytheon Australia’s Exmouth Site Director Jamie Rebbeck said the Harold E. Holt Naval Communications Station’s success was built on solid, dependable and long-term relationships between Raytheon Australia and the Australian and U.S. governments.

The free flow of critical information with our partners means Raytheon Australia has been able to collaborate to find optimal solutions for any project. 

This includes daily communication with the U.S. Space Command for the C Band Radar, as well as a partnership with the operator who resides at the 1 Remote Sensor Unit at RAAF Base Edinburgh in Adelaide, South Australia. 

This type of collaboration has enabled local teams to successfully undertake the work. 

“If any issue arises, we have homegrown talent based in Exmouth that can deal with the situation immediately,” he said. “In fact, growing local talent is of paramount importance to us because it will be the basis of Australia’s sovereign space capability moving forward.”

Raytheon Australia is the largest full-time employer in the Exmouth region, and it continues to work as a strategic partner to Defence with the execution of the Precinct Transformation Plan focused on transforming the infrastructure of the Exmouth site. 

“It is important to realise that what we are doing up here is real, it’s not theoretical,” Rebbeck said. “Our work is so diverse, it’s incredible. We are truly working on the cutting edge, not just talking about it.”

Published On: 10/08/2021
Last Updated: 10/24/2021