Astrium selected to build digital broadband satellite communications network for French military

PARIS, France, 14 Feb. 2013. The French defense procurement agency (DGA) has awarded Astrium, a European space technology company, and its partner Actia Sodielec, a company that specializes in military telecommunications, the Comcept contract.

Beginning in 2014, Comcept will provide the French military with additional broadband satellite capacity beyond what the existing Syracuse system offers. Comcept will use capacity on the French-Italian satellite Athena-Fidus, which is scheduled to launch during the next year, and will be compatible with commercial ka-band satellite networks that are launched in the future in order to provide global coverage.

Comcept will enable the French army, air force, and navy to benefit from a network of fixed and deployable ground stations, the latter deployable both in France and in theaters of operation, allowing them to exchange data, videos and telephone communications using full-IP (Internet Protocol) technology. The contract also provides for the option of equipping vehicles, ships, planes and unmanned aerial systems (UAS) with built-in mobile stations.

Comcept is designed to provide the French armed forces with a Ka-band ground segment for secure broadband communications by satellite. It will become the first military network of its type in Europe, and will make use of the latest IP network solutions on the market.

Astrium Services is the prime contractor for Comcept in France and will also be responsible for the engineering and testing of the system. For the 17 year duration of the contract, the company will also ensure the system remains operational and secure. Astrium will be working in partnership with its co-contractor Actia Sodielec, a medium-sized company that specializes in satellite telecommunications and is a supplier to the French Ministry of Defense. Actia Sodielec will be in charge of the engineering, integration and operational maintenance of the ground stations.

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