Airbus Defence and Space

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Airbus Defence and Space selected to study options for French military satcom system replacement

• Airbus Defence and Space has been awarded a study contract by the French defence procurement agency DGA to look at the options for a Syracuse III replacement
• Syracuse III is France’s current fleet of military communications satellites
• The planned successor to Syracuse III, named Comsat NG, is expected to be operational in 2019

07. September 2012 – Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space technology company, has been awarded a contract by the French defence procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) to study options for a new military satcom system to replace Syracuse III. The planned successor, named Comsat NG, is expected to be operational by 2019. In addition to the X-band transmission capacity currently provided by Syracuse III, the new satellites will also provide capacity in the military Ka and UHF frequency bands.

The Airbus Defence and Space teams will review the military requirements and propose a range of solutions based on different technical architectures and options for their procurement including innovative partnership arrangements and industrial cooperation agreements. The results of the study will enable the French Ministry of Defence to launch the conceptual design phase of the Comsat NG project early in 2013.

Airbus Defence and Space CEO Eric Béranger says: “We intend to mobilise the most experienced teams in Airbus Defence and Space to collaborate with the DGA in identifying the solutions that are best adapted to the needs of the French armed forces and that offer the highest benefits at the lowest cost to the French government.”

Airbus Defence and Space has been developing and delivering innovative solutions and services to the French Ministry of Defence for many years now. For example, since 2005, Airbus Defence and Space has been providing a range of satellite telecommunication services to the French armed forces under the ASTEL-S convention, a framework agreement with DIRISI, the joint directorate of infrastructure networks and information systems responsible for the management of military satellite communication services. And since 2008 Airbus Defence and Space has also been providing a communication service for French military personnel deployed on overseas missions, enabling 5000 servicemen and women to keep in touch with their families and friends through an Internet portal called “Escale des Armées” (previously known as “Passerel”). Moreover, in 2008, the DGA awarded a contract to Airbus Defence and Space for the development of the Telcomarsat naval satellite communication system.

Through such projects, Airbus Defence and Space has been able to build up a high level of expertise in France, and today counts among the most innovative providers of IP-based satcom technologies for ground segment solutions and telecommunication services, offering an ever-wider choice of frequency bands from Ku/C and L to Ka. Airbus Defence and Space also provides satellite-based military communication services to some of the most modern armed forces in the world, including those of Canada, Germany, the UK, the United States and NATO.

Airbus Defence and Space is a world-class player with unrivalled expertise in the design and manufacture of telecommunication satellites, as demonstrated by the number of successful bids for contracts to supply products and services to major commercial satellite operators worldwide. As the recognised specialist in geostationary communications satellites for both civil and military applications, Airbus Defence and Space designs and assembles satellites based on the Eurostar platform at its French site in Toulouse – where fourteen such satellites are currently under construction – and is about to embark on the final testing phase of its first satellite based on the new Alphabus platform. Airbus Defence and Space makes use of all key technologies and value-added skills – especially those relating to spacecraft and payload design, integration and validation – to propose a solution specifically adapted to military requirements that optimises costs by reusing state-of-the-art commercial technologies to the maximum extent. In a related project, Airbus Defence and Space is developing a new generation of geostationary satellites as part of the French Government investment programme (Plan d'Investissements d'Avenir) to develop the satellites of the future.


About Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is the number one company in Europe for space technologies and the third in the world. In 2011, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover close to €5 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide, mainly in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands.

Airbus Defence and Space is the sole European company that covers the whole range of civil and defence space systems and services.

Its three business units are: Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure; Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment;  Airbus Defence and Space for comprehensive fixed and mobile end-to-end solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security and broadcast satellite communications equipment and systems, and bespoke geo-information services, worldwide.

Airbus Defence and Space is a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2011, the Group – comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 49.1 billion and employed a workforce of over 133,000.


Press contacts:

Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK)                                                         Tel.: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

Gregory Gavroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                                      Tel.: +33 (0) 1 77 51 80 32

Ralph Heinrich (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                                     Tel.: +49 (0) 89 607 33971

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP)                                                   Tel.: +34 91 586 37 41

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