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Friday, July 07, 2006

German Armed Forces Will Receive Secure Communications Network With Two Dedicated Satellites

Fri, 7 Jul 2006, 00:47

KOBLENZ, Germany: MilSat Services GmbH, a company set up by EADS SPACE Services and ND SatCom, will provide the German Bundeswehr's satellite communications system SatcomBW Step 2. The Federal Office for Information Management and Information Technology of the Bundeswehr (IT-AmtBw) and MilSat Services signed a contract in Koblenz, Germany on Wednesday. The contract will be valid after the German budget 2006 will have been enacted.

With the SATCOMBw programme, the German Armed Forces will have a secure information network for use by units on deployed missions. This will allow voice and fax as well as advanced data, video and multimedia applications. For the first time the Bundeswehr will have a secure communications system with dedicated military communications satellites. The entire system is due to start regular operation in the year 2009 and will constitute an important step in the implementation of the Bundeswehr concept for network-centric operations.

The contract runs for ten years and there is an option to extend it for a further 7.5 years. The customer is the Federal Office for Information Management and Information Technology of the Bundeswehr (IT-AmtBw). The contractor is MilSat Services GmbH based in Bremen, which is owned by EADS SPACE Services (74.9%) and the Friedrichshafen satellite network specialist ND SatCom (25.1%). Further important subcontractors are EADS Astrium, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the satellite operator Intelsat.

Along with the in-orbit delivery of two communications satellites for operations in military frequencies (SHF/UHF), the SatcomBw Stage 2 contract includes their operation, the delivery of a comprehensive ground user terminal segment and upgrading the network management centre already installed with the Bundeswehr. MilSat Services GmbH will also provide the Bundeswehr with commercial transmission capacities using Intelsat satellites and anchoring services thanks to new large ground stations.

EADS Astrium is prime contractor of the space segment, which is composed of two satellites delivered by Alcatel Alenia Space and based on a Spacebus platform. EADS Astrium is Europe's leading supplier of civil and military communications satellites and is already a system leader for the British military satellites Skynet and for the NATO 4 satellites. The launch services company Arianespace is responsible for launching the satellites from the European space centre in Kourou, French Guyana.

Both SATCOMBw satellites will be positioned in geostationary orbit and will provide communication services over an area stretching from America to eastern Asia, during their operational life of 15 years. The German Aerospace Center (DLR) will assume responsibility for operating the two satellites using various of its locations. In addition to that DLR will channel important parts of the user traffic via its ground installations.

MilSat Services GmbH subcontractor ND Satcom will deliver a large number of new user terminals, expansion of anchor stations in Germany and a new central network management and monitoring facility. ND SatCom, a 100 % subsidiary of SES Astra, is a specialist in military satellite communications solutions and as has successfully implemented important commercial and military projects over recent years, including SATCOMBw Stage 1.

The Bundeswehr will have two different types of user station: larger, NATO-compatible, robust transceiver stations, which enable not only telephone calls via satellite but also radio relay services, Internet access and video conferences. These stations also serve as a node for local mobile and fixed data networks in the theatre of operations. The second type of terminal is smaller and portable and enables the use of broadband services such as video and Internet access and login to the Bundeswehr-internal information system. With this the Bundeswehr will have its own cutting edge communication system available in the area of operations.

EADS SPACE Services develops and promotes satellite services concentrating on secure communications and navigation. As the European "one-stop-shop" provider for milsatcom services, EADS SPACE Services meets its customers’ requirements with innovative and highly competitive end-to-end solutions. EADS SPACE Services' wholly-owned Paradigm subsidiaries, are today delivering global military satellite communications services to the UK Armed Forces under the British MOD's Skynet 5 contract and to NATO forces as part of a tri-national intergovernmental service provision contract. Other national customers such as Portugal or Canada are also benefiting from Paradigm’s services.

EADS SPACE Services is a subsidiary of EADS SPACE, one of the leading global suppliers of space systems for civil and defence tasks. In 2005, EADS SPACE achieved revenues of EUR 2.7 billion and had roughly 11,000 employees in France, Germany, Great Britain and Spain. The EADS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2005, it generated revenues of EUR 34.2 billion and employed a workforce of more than 113,000.

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