4 mins read 06 May 2021

Gilmour and DEWC collaborating on prototype defence satellites

Gilmour Space Technologies and DEWC Systems have committed to developing prototype satellites that will support Australia’s defence requirements.

CEO of Gilmour Space Technologies, Adam Gilmour (right) and CEO of DEWC Systems, Ian Spencer (left). Credit - Gilmour

Gilmour Space Technologies will collaborate with DEWC Systems to develop, a payload for Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (ISREW) in LEO, from commercially available components. The payload, based upon current 3U CubeSats in the 80-100 kg class, will be delivered on board Gilmour’s launch vehicle rockets.

This announcement with Gilmour will help DEWC to further develop its capabilities within ISREW with its Miniaturised Orbital Electronic Warfare Sensor Systems (MOESS). MOESS is a dynamically reprogrammable, multi-purpose Electromagnetic sensor system integrated and deployed on micro satellites which DEWC hope will provide a unique and enhanced space-based EW capability for Australia.

“We are committed to developing a LEO launch and satellite platform that will support new and valuable sovereign space capabilities, such as DEWC System’s ISREW solution for Defence,” said Adam Gilmour, CEO of Gilmour Space. 

“I believe in the ingenuity, innovation and the ‘can do’ attitude of the Australian spirit. Through effective collaboration with like minded Australian companies, such as DEWC Systems and Gilmour Space Technologies, I am confident that we can deliver a true and enduring sovereign Defence space capability,” said Ian Spencer CEO of DEWC Systems.

The announcement, which comes just a week after Gilmour announced a collaboration with Spacelink, demonstrates the buoyancy of the current Australian Space Industry. According to Gilmour, they are “ building a coalition of technology partners that will be able to combine with us and provide fantastic services from space. Not just in defence - we're working with a fire detection satellite company, so it's for civilian and defence applications.”

MOESS Technology Platform

An artist's impression of a satellite with MOESS onboard. Credit - DEWC Systems

MOESS has been developed to monitor radio frequencies and signals such as RADAR to offer a top down view of aircraft and ship movements. The fleet will host around 20 cubesats, that DEWC and Gilmour will develop in collaboration, and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify and classify potential threats and signal information. 

This kind of capability has previously been provided in partnership with strategic international partners, but there is a significant push for Australia to have its own capability in this and other areas. 

"Defence is not just about kinetic effects of things getting whacked and blowing up. It's also about radio signals, communication signals getting jammed or anti-jammed," says Gilmour,

Being able to do these kinds of missions without the reliance on partners is always going to give you some more freedom of movement when it comes to how we operate and it helps our Australian strategic and tactical priorities be the highest priority,” said Spencer. 

He went on to say, “Recently we’ve seen what happens when the world is isolated through an unforeseen event like this COVID crisis and being able to manufacture stuff in your own country has become more important so this kind of project helps in a number of ways.”’

Late last year DEWC launched in collaboration with Southern Lauch, a prototype sensor system to gather information for the development of the technology. The sensor was launched aboard the DART from the Koonibba range as part of the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) Plan Jericho, which gives the RAAF the opportunity to collaborate with organisations at the forefront of technological advancement.

Space Industry Stakeholders Coming Together

CEO of Gilmour Space Technologies, Adam Gilmour (right) and CEO of DEWC Systems, Ian Spencer (left) signed the agreement to develop the prototype satellites that will support Australia’s requirements in Electronic Warfare capability. Credit - Gilmour

DEWC is a South Australia based company that began in 2011. It’s focus is in delivering Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare (ISREW) solutions. In 2019 DEWC acquired AES, a company with 40 years experience in “electronic engineering, miniaturised design, prototyping and manufacturing,” according to Spencer.

Last year they received stage two funding of $3.1 million to advance the project  that will see them develop the project through to a concept demonstrator. The collaboration with Gilmour Space Technologies will look to ensure that the concept demonstrator is launched on an Australian made rocket launch system. 

Queensland based Gilmour Space Technology who have recently found customers for their home grown launch platform, the Eris Rocket, including Space Machines and Fleet Space Technologies are continuing to grow their capabilities. 

Gilmour recently announced that they are developing a scalable satellite platform, the G-Class Satellite Bus (G-Sat) which they are developing to fit into the Eris launch platform as a customisable bus.