18 Jan 2012

NZ joins US network of military satellites

6:22 pm on 18 January 2012

The Defence Force is to join a United States network of nine military satellites to improve communications between New Zealand and overseas deployments.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says New Zealand joins Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg and the Netherlands in getting access to the network in return for partially paying for the ninth satellite.

Dr Coleman says that will cost New Zealand $83.2 million over the next 20 years, but will ensure better communications for military personnel deployed overseas.

The minister says until now, New Zealand has had to buy satellite bandwidth at spot prices which can involve premiums of up to 100% depending on demand.