Defence secures AFL finals satellite coverage for Baghdad

There are several mission-critical items Australian soldiers sent to Iraq need, not least adequate ammunition, rations - and real-time access to the AFL Grand Final.

According to Defence, signals and communications technicians are hurriedly "assembling, installing, and testing nine satellite dishes around the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) in time for this weekend's AFL Grand Final live".

Defence says the satellite dish rollout is necessary to ensure serving troops are spared the injustice of being forced to watch replays when they already know the result, describing previous attempts to secure live vision of the mighty match as "an interesting and occasionally complicated affair".

"Sometimes Defence in Canberra had to rush a recording of the match out to the area of operation when live coverage was unavailable," a Defence spokesperson said.

The signallers rushing to secure vision are understood to be working in the centre of Baghdad, installing a dish for the members of SECDET 8 as well as in six other undisclosed desert regions of Southern Iraq to enable the Al Muthanna Task Group (AMTG) to watch the match.

Defence is also selling the interoperability benefits of the satellite infrastructure rollout, saying it can deliver both football and cricket - when the season commences.

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Julian Bajkowski

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