In what is being touted as the first deal of its kind, Intelsat signed a $167 million contract with the Australian Defense Force (ADF) that provides the ADF with long-term telecommunications capacity aboard a commercial Intelsat satellite that is scheduled for deployment in 2012. Intelsat, the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services with a fleet of more than 50 orbiting spacecraft, would set aside a portion of its future Intelsat 22 spacecraft for a UHF payload that would provide military communications services for the ADF. Intelsat 22, which is being constructed by Boeing, will operate from the 72° East Longitude orbital position following its launch in 2012 and will also carry 48 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders in addition to its UHF payload. Unlike most arrangements between commercial satellite operators and government or military entities (which typically provide capacity on a short-term, spot basis), Intelsat General Corp., the governmental services unit of Intelsat, would provide support and related services to the ADF for 15 years under the terms of the contract signed on Monday. ADF, which has committed to purchase a portion of the UHF payload, will also be given the option to acquire the remainder. Asserting that “every commercial satellite going into orbit creates opportunities for governments to deploy mission-critical capabilities,” Intelsat CEO David McGlade proclaimed that the ADF contract represents “a milestone in the development of hosted payloads to support long-term governmental needs.”