The Canadian Department of National Defense is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with the US Defense Department within the next few weeks codifying Canada’s participation in the Air Force’s Wideband Global Satellite Communications network, reports the Vancouver Sun. The Canadian parliament recently authorized Defense Minister Peter MacKay to invest upwards of $464 million ($477 million Canadian) to secure Canada’s place in the program, according to an earlier Vancouver Sun report. Experiences in Afghanistan and Libya have proven the necessity of reliable battlefield communications, according to Canadian defense officials. Already Australia is a partner in the WGS program. Additionally, allies Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and New Zealand have expressed interest in joining. Already, three WGS spacecraft are operating on orbit. The next satellite in the series, WGS-4, has arrived at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., for its scheduled launch on Jan. 19, announced the Air Force Thursday.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.