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Thursday, 18 August 2005
Page: 290

Mr Melham asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, in writing, on 15 June 2005:

(1)   Since 1996-1997, what research and development work has been undertaken by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) relating to the operation and capabilities of the United States Defence Support Program satellites and the forthcoming Space Based InfraRed System (SBIRS).

(2)   What sum has been spent on this research and development work in each financial year since 1996-1997.

(3)   What further research and development work by the DSTO is planned to be conducted prior to and after SBIRS becomes operational and what is the projected cost of this work.

Mrs De-Anne Kelly (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable member’s question:

(1)   Since 1996-97, DSTO has assisted in maintaining Australian full knowledge and concurrence and in the assessment of SBIRS as a capability for detecting Australian targets of interest. To help sustain full knowledge and concurrence, DSTO developed a special purpose processor. This processor is able to accurately geo-locate and display Defence Support Program data on a background map and contains some DSTO-developed prototype target detection and tracking algorithms. With regard to other research and development work performed by DSTO in relation to the United States Defence Support Program and SBIRS, that program of work is classified.

(2)   1996-97, $24,280 1997-98, $310,060 1998-99, $249,500 1999-2000 - $304,940 2000-01, $255,850 2001-02, $294,400 2002-03, $281,370 2003-04, $158,130 2004-05, $251,790

(3)   The content and focus of DSTO’s research and development work would remain as outlined in part (1). On this basis, projected costs would be equivalent to approximately two staff years per year and in the order of $200,000 per year.