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Friday, 15 June 1984
Page: 3223

(Question No. 826)


Senator Bolkus asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 2 May 1984:

(1) Has the United States Defence Department developed a new generation of early warning satellites called DSP2, which are designed for fighting nuclear wars and/or nuclear attacks.

(2) Is the Nurrungar ground station in South Australia part of the control system for these satellites.

(3) Will the primary function of Nurrungar now only be to monitor arms stocks held by the super powers, given the use of such satellites.


Senator Gareth Evans —The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The FY 85 report to Congress of the United States Secretary of Defense includes the following statement concerning the United States satellite early warning program:

Early warning satellites in geostationary orbit would provide our first warning of missile attack. These satellites use infrared sensors to detect ICBM and SLBM launches. Replacement satellites, scheduled for deployment in the mid-to late 1980s, will incorporate a number of improvements designed to enhance their performance and survivability (e.g. improvements in the sensor's focal plane and additional hardening).

(2) and (3) In relation to the purpose and operations of the Nurrungar station the honourable senator's attention is drawn to the Prime Minister's statement tabled in the Senate on 6 June 1984.