Thales Australia has signed a deal to supply satellite communications (SATCOM) systems for Australia’s three new air-warfare destroyers (AWDs) to meet current and future needs of the AWDs.

Thales Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins said the company would provide global data transfer capability based on US military satellites and Broadband Global Area Network (BGAN) access through commercial maritime satellites.

The SATCOM system will provide access to the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and civilian maritime functions, which include telex, remote monitoring, tracking and position reporting, and chart and weather updates.

Thales will work with Australian small and medium-sized enterprises, such as Spirit River, SITEP and Electrotech, to supply and support the new equipment.

Australia will build three advanced warships based on the Spanish-designed Navantia F100 under the $8bn AWD programme launched in 2007.

The first, HMAS Hobart, is scheduled for delivery in December 2014, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.