Australia To Host U.S. Space Radar and Telescope

Australia To Host U.S. Space Radar and Telescopefrom Australia will host two United States space surveillance systems as part of closer military ties agreed to at a bilateral security summit yesterday.

The new co-operation on space was one in a string of enhanced engagements agreed on at an annual summit attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and their Australian counterparts.

The two militaries have agreed that Australia will operate a US Air Force C-band ground-based radar system near the north-west town ofExmouth.

Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith announced that they also plan to relocate a Space Surveillance Telescope from New Mexico to an as-yet undecided location in Western Australia.

Mr Panetta described the relocation as “a major leap forward in bilateral space co-operation”.

Together, the radar and telescope will provide accurate tracking and identification of objects in space such as satellites and debris. The radar will be delivered in 2014 at the site of a former US Navy communications base.

In a statement released yesterday, after Mrs Clinton and Mr Panetta met Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Mr Smith, the US and Australia also agreed to hold joint military exercises with Japan and to boost defense relations with China. The ministers also called on China to increase military transparency, according to the statement.

On Tuesday, Mrs Clinton encouraged Australia to increase its military ties with India, but added that America also supports the peaceful rise of Asian economic powerhouse China.

She said that the US had made a strategic priority of supporting India in playing a larger role in Asian affairs.

“It’s also important to see the burgeoning relationship between Australia and India,” she said. “We would welcome joint Australia-Indian naval vessel exercises in the future.”

The US also supports a peaceful and open China, she added.

The US and Australia also want to increase US military access to the Australian navy base south of Perth and to bombing ranges in the northern Outback as part of the shift of US might to the Asia-Pacific region.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the summit will discuss medium-term plans for co-operation on military aviation as well as warships.

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