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Airbus Awarded Contract for SATCOMBw Military Satellite System

Our Bureau - : Jul 4, 2024 - : 10:12 pm

Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, have awarded Airbus the SATCOMBw 3 prime contract for the next generation secure military satellite system. This contract includes geostationary satellites, ground segment, launch, and operation for 15 years. The spacecraft are expected to be deployed before the end of the decade, with the contract valued at EUR2.1 billion.

After the success of the SATCOMBw Stage 2 programme, which we have been delivering since 2009, this latest contract reinforces our strategic partnership with the Bundeswehr, providing them with a greatly enhanced secure milsatcom capability that is future proofed into the 2040s’,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.

“At a time when Western democracies are challenged and where the European institutional space ecosystem is struggling, we are excited and grateful to develop and build this leading-edge system. Long term partnerships are crucial to guaranteeing essential sovereignty and capability, and protecting our armed forces in the increasingly unstable geo-political environment,” he added.

The contract encompasses the design, integration, testing, and in-orbit delivery of two new Airbus-built military GEO telecommunications satellites, which will succeed the COMSATBw 1B and 2B satellites. It also includes upgrading the existing ground segment to operate the new satellites and providing operational services for 15 years, with an option for extension.

The new generation of Airbus satellites will be based on the Eurostar Neo platform and will weigh around 6 metric tons. They will feature extensive capabilities to keep pace with rapid digitalisation and the increasing volume of data transfer required, incorporating the latest state-of-the-art technologies.

A significant aspect of the contract is the involvement of a German value chain, including partners such as Bremen-based OHB and numerous smaller German companies. Key elements, including the guidance and integration of advanced payloads, solar arrays, and overall operation of the spacecraft, will be managed from Germany.

The Bundeswehr’s satellite communications system (SATCOMBw) is essential for autonomous and independently deployable communications and information services. It ensures the global command and information capability of the German armed forces, including operational contingents and special forces. The SATCOMBw 3 project also aims to meet NATO’s commitments in this area in the future, addressing increased user requirements.


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