Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space helps enable the maiden flight of the SIDM UAV in a foreign theatre of operations by supplying new satellite bandwidth in Afghanistan

On 17 February 2009, the French Air Force’s SIDM (the French acronym for medium altitude long endurance (MALE) drone) surveillance UAV performed its maiden flight in a foreign theatre of operations.

  •  Airbus Defence and Space provides the French Defence Staff with new civil bandwidth in Afghanistan
  • Airbus Defence and Space secures the reconfiguration of a satellite for French military needs

The SIDM, which provides information to safeguard the French armed forces within a radius of several hundred kilometres, requires two civil Ku-band satellite links: a low data rate link for it to be remotely controlled from a ground station, and a high data rate link for it to send in real time the data collected (video, photos) during the flight.

But the extremely high demand for satellite communications capabilities from numerous defence ministries and the international media has exhausted capacity in Afghanistan.

By analysing its portfolio of contracts with major international operators, Airbus Defence and Space was able to identify the only compatible satellite solution accessible in this region. Airbus Defence and Space then arranged with an operator for one of its satellites to be repositioned to meet the specific needs of the SIDM.

For Eric Béranger, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, “The SIDM’s maiden flight in a foreign theatre of operations proved to be a huge success for Airbus Defence and Space and its subsidiary, London Satellite Exchange, given the difficulty in identifying and quickly implementing a compatible satellite solution that is available in this region where this bandwidth is saturated.”


As part of the deployment of the SIDM in Afghanistan, Airbus Defence and Space is supplying :

  • The civil Ku-band satellite telecommunications capabilities
  • The satellite link engineering
  • A dedicated 24-hour hotline for its defence customers


Airbus Defence and Space had already provided similar satellite services for the flight testing of the SIDM UAV programme on the French territory. Airbus Defence and Space, the prime contractor for the programme, delivered the SIDM to the French Army in January 2009.

Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment and its wholly owned subsidiary Airbus Defence and Space for the development and delivery of satellite services.

AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, AIRBUS Group generated revenues of €39.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116, 000.


Press contacts:

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

Matthieu Duvelleroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR)                                  Tel.:+33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32 

Mathias Pikelj (Airbus Defence and Space GER)                                         Tel.:+49 (0) 7545 8 9123 

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