Thursday 25th of April 2024

Geraldton's US Military Mobile Phone Base- Who Ya Gonna Call ?

Why were Downer and Nelson so coy about the Geraldton base in Question Time yesterday? Defence minister Nelson said that he wouldn't go into details " for reasons you'd understand." I don't understand why he says that.

It's not exactly classified information.. the contractors have long been crowing about the Multiple User Objective System (MUOS) that Downer says the base will be a part of.

Here's the General Dynamics Vice President:

[extracts from Military Technology Online, 10/2/05]

“There are numerous sites that will talk to the satellite, collect the signals coming down and then tie them into the various DoD networks. This infrastructure includes such functions as the radio access facility, which can be thought of as the antenna site, as well as the switching and network management facilities. There is also the satellite control facility that will send up the commands to the satellite and basically provide the overall management function,”

“We still have the base stations just like they do on the ground, That is built into part of the satellite info-structure on the ground. Think of the cellular towers essentially as being a tower in the sky on the satellites. The network management control, switching, provisioning of users and who has access to what phone numbers is exactly the same process that is used with the cellular infrastructure on the ground today, except that ours will be housed in a satellite ground facility.”

So far I've got Lockheed building the satellites, Northrop Grunman supplying navigation gear, and General Dynamics doing, literally, the groundwork. BAE's satellite division is also tied in. sending the "phone towers" up, I suppose.

A hunch... let's see if Lockheed, in 2010 and 2011, launch their MUOS satellites from Woomera. There's a strong presence from all these companies in South Oz, and such a luvverly launch pad.

Perhaps, as the story was leaked just in time to make Parliament before it takes a break for Cheney's visit, nobody wanted to talk too much and spoil Dick's fun.. That would be why Mr Nelson was so busy diverting attention to Peter Garrett's book. Probably the Geraldton base was to be a joint Howard-Cheney announcement, now buggered up. Ah well, they'll find something else to tell us, be sure of that.

When Cheney does his speech on the the US/Australian Alliance on the War On Terror, I think we're going to see who's been wearing the pants around here.