In coordination with the Resilient Multi Mission Space STaR Shot program the Next Generation Technologies Fund (NGTF) Space Capabilities priority area is seeking research and development proposals for an innovative space qualified Radio Frequency (RF) sensor payload.

Research problem

Space capabilities remain critical to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and coalition operations supporting broad and contested:

  • situational awareness
  • force networking
  • precision effects

Space is now a contested domain and a new approach is needed to address threats to the current space system architecture and develop innovative capabilities that will provide the ADF with a strategic advantage.

Expected outcomes

In this program of work, the Commonwealth is aiming to bring together a team of innovative Australian organisations to develop a future satellite based RF payload that will be affordable, adaptable and enable a testbed to explore current and future Australian surveillance requirements.

To focus the development of the Advanced Radio Frequency Payload (ARFP), a reference application has been identified based on an affordable Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensor that would contribute to a broad area maritime surveillance capability.

Advanced Radio Frequency Payload Network expected outcomes

The ARFP will be capable of transmitting and receiving RF energy and processing the received energy on board the satellite to generate information that can contribute to timely situational awareness. Key drivers in the final design for the ARFP are:

  • size
  • weight
  • power
  • affordability
  • production scalability

This is consistent with the overarching operating concept based on the idea that a constellation of lower cost satellites (<200kg) with fit for purpose performance working together in a coordinated and networked manner is likely to provide a better defence outcome than a few much larger more sophisticated (and expensive) satellites.

Application process

Submissions are to be made via AusTender.

Contact Officer and RFP Inquiries

Proposers are to direct any questions or concerns regarding this Request for Proposal (RFP) in writing to the Contact Officer at

Proposers may submit questions or concerns to the Contact Officer up until 5 working days prior to the closing time specified in the Tender Details Schedule.

DST will provide a research program brief to all interested parties via Microsoft Teams on 15th February 2021 at 10.30am (ACDT) . This will provide an opportunity for clarifications and questions to be raised. Any further questions after this brief will need to be provide in writing with DST providing a written response that will be provided to all parties. Nominations to attend the briefing are to be forwarded in writing to For security purposes please provide the following:

  • full name
  • organisation
  • position
  • mobile number
  • email address

The call for proposals closes 2:00 pm AEDT Thursday 11 March 2021, in accordance with the tender lodgement procedures set out in the RFP and on AusTender.

Tender responses are to be submitted electronically via AusTender using the ‘Lodgement Page’ link.

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