Airbus and OneWeb have signed a distribution partner agreement to provide Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite communication services for military and governmental use.
Airbus will offer new communication services – utilizing the OneWeb constellation – to select European and U.K. armed forces, and civil protection and security forces, from the end of 2021.
“As Europe’s leading government and defense secure communication provider, we continually look to extend and augment the services we offer. With the OneWeb LEO constellation we can offer military customers real flexibility as we look to deliver the future integrated mesh networks, combat cloud and information superiority that demand these new and innovative approaches,” said Evert Dudok, Executive Vice President of Connected Intelligence at Airbus Defence and Space.
“With this new offering based on the OneWeb constellation and Airbus technology, we will be the very first provider to offer this type of service to European forces.”
Neil Masterson, OneWeb CEO, added: “We are thrilled to expand our work with Airbus to meet the connectivity needs of European defense and security agencies on land, at sea and in the air. Our network will enable secure, resilient, real-time communications for military and civilian government organizations, starting in the Arctic and expanding to global mobility use cases.”
In the frame of this partnership, Airbus and OneWeb plan to develop a complete range of secure services dedicated to the specific needs of armed forces for all their operations on land, at sea, and in the air.
LEO constellations enable the development of a new generation of terminals and antennas of reduced size, weight and power. These constellations will also make it possible to offer real-time space communications, useful for transmitting live video streams from sensors such as those embarked on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
These new satellite communication services will provide armed forces with high-speed, all-IP (Internet Protocol) communications, making it possible to prioritize communication flows and ensure a very high level of availability. Users can complement existing services and networks with the ability to switch between LEO and GEO (Geostationary orbit) satellite communications throughout operations to derive the benefits of a flexible and interoperable network.
The partnership will offer services to connect vehicles on the ground, battleships at sea and aircraft in flight. This connectivity service is fully designed to support future multi-domain cloud applications and enable information superiority.
The Airbus-designed OneWeb satellites are currently being produced at the Airbus OneWeb Satellites facility in Florida, U.S. After an initial start of service over the Arctic area from North Pole to the 50th parallel, OneWeb expects its services to be available with global coverage of the Earth by the end of 2022 with a constellation of 648 satellites in LEO.