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Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance, Space, Electronic Warfare, and Cyber Security

The Integrated Investment Program will guide approximately $195 billion of investment to 2025‐26 to deliver the future force of the Defence White Paper. The Government will invest nine per cent of Defence capital expenditure to 2025‐26 in strengthening our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), electronic warfare, space, and cyber capabilities so that our forces have a comprehensive awareness of what is happening around them. The ISR capability will provide much of the battlespace awareness to successfully plan and conduct future operations.

Key ISR, space, electronic warfare and cyber security capabilities

The Government will increase the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) capacity to protect Australia’s borders and sovereignty with an advanced surveillance system including seven MQ‐4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft with supporting intelligence, surveillance and control systems to begin service in the early 2020s. The Triton will complement the P‐8A Poseidon’s maritime surveillance and response capabilities, flying missions in excess of 24 hours with a range of over 8000 nautical miles, while providing 360 degree surveillance and imagery of an area of up to 2000 square miles.

The cyber threat to Australia is growing. It represents a real and present risk to the ADF’s warfighting capability, our national security and economic prosperity. The Government will significantly strengthen Defence’s cyber capabilities over the decade to protect Defence and other critical Australian Government systems from malicious cyber intrusion and disruption.

The Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) is a vital asset for Australia in protecting our maritime approaches and territory. The Government will increase JORN’s capability for wide area surveillance of Australia’s northern approaches into the 2030s.

The Government will also enhance Defence’s imagery and targeting capability to support ADF operations through greater access to partner and commercial space‐based capabilities and strengthened imagery analysis.

The Government will ensure that Defence has the intelligence capabilities to meet the threats and challenges Australia will face to 2035. New, modern intelligence systems will be introduced, supported by enhanced information processing to support high technology platforms such as the E/A‐18G Growler electronic attack aircraft, F‐35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters, P8‐A Poseidon aircraft, Air Warfare Destroyers and modern armoured vehicles. This will include the ability to achieve near real‐time production, exploitation and dissemination of data to support a range of strike and other combat operations. Defence information networks will also be upgraded to provide the capability to store, manage and process large amounts of ISR data.

Defence’s space surveillance and situational awareness capabilities will be strengthened through the C‐band radar and optical space surveillance telescope, to be operated jointly by Australia and the United States in Western Australia. Examination of other ground‐based sensors will be undertaken for potential follow‐on investment.

Electronic warfare support to naval, air and land forces will be strengthened for operations in hostile electromagnetic environments. Defence will acquire up to five long‐range electronic warfare support aircraft from the early 2020s in two tranches, based on the Gulfstream G550 airframe with additional modified systems. The fleet of 12 Growler aircraft to enter service from 2018 will be regularly upgraded to maintain alignment with the United States’ Growler fleet. Further investments will be made in tactical level electronic warfare support, including for naval and land platforms.

Satellite based communications upgrades will also be implemented, including ground‐station segments and mobile and deployable land terminals.


An additional around 900 ADF positions and around 800 Australian Public Service positions will be allocated to 2025‐26 to deliver stronger ISR, electronic warfare, space and cyber capabilities. This will include supporting the information requirements of new platforms such as the F‐35A Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter, P‐8A Poseidon aircraft, navy ships, communications, improved support to counter‐terrorism operations and intelligence collection and analysis.


Facilities at Harold E. Holt Communications Facility in Exmouth, Western Australia, will be upgraded to support enhanced space situational awareness and communications capabilities. JORN facilities in northern Australia and the communications facility located at HMAS Harman, Australian Capital Territory, will also be upgraded. Infrastructure works at Royal Australian Air Force bases Edinburgh in South Australia and Tindal in the Northern Territory will support introduction of the MQ‐4C Triton unmanned surveillance aircraft.