Airbus has signed a contract with the Belgian Ministry of Defense to provide tactical satellite communications services for 15 years.
The Armed Forces will utilize channels of the Airbus UHF (Ultra High Frequency) military communications hosted payload on-board a commercial telecommunications satellite manufactured by Airbus.
As the UHF frequency band is a relatively scarce orbital resource, the offering is expected to make up for the capacity shortage around the world. According to Airbus, the company has already signed several firm orders for this capacity, well ahead of the satellite’s scheduled launch.
Eric Even, head of Marketing and Sales, Connected Intelligence, at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “With this new UHF payload, Airbus will be able to offer a new UHF communications service, scheduled for launch in 2024, to the armed forces, particularly those of European countries and NATO allies.”
The payload will be operated from Airbus’s Network Operations Center in Toulouse. Its 18 UHF channels will enable up to 200 simultaneous communications over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, large parts of Asia, as well as the Atlantic Ocean (to eastern Brazil) and the Indian Ocean (to western Australia).
Military UHF satcoms are used by the armed forces for operations on land, at sea and in the air. They have a high level of interoperability and are therefore very useful for multinational and coalition operations. The UHF band is very flexible and offers a lightweight, robust and highly secure means of communication. An extensive range of terminals for use on land, at sea and in the air is available to meet the needs of the various armed forces.
With experience in operating UHF milsatcom services, Airbus is expecting the new payload to enhance its portfolio throughout the lifespan of the satellite. Airbus is also said to be the only armed forces private satcom operator to cover the full spectrum of military (UHF, X, Ka Mil) and commercial (L, C/Ku, Ka) frequency bands and applications.