The French Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) has signed a ten-year framework agreement known as Copernicus with Airbus.

The initial order is for the construction and upgrade of part of the ground segment for the telecommunications satellites used by the French Armed Forces, within the Syracuse IV programme.

This order is valued at over €100m.

Airbus Defence and Space French Defence Sales head Dominique Maudet said: “We are building the future broadband and multi-satellite ground segment for France’s Armed Forces.

“It will be fully integrated, intelligent and dynamic, giving operators access to a decision-making tool unique to satellite communications management.”

Work on the initial order includes future satellite communications management system’ development.

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By GlobalData

This portal, called Pegasus, will allow the French Armed Forces to augment the usage of available capacities on both military and commercial satellites.

The Copernicus project also aims to improve the operability of the multi-satellite communications network Comcept.

Airbus-designed Comcept was commissioned by the French Armed Forces in 2017.

Besides the Ku- and C-band capacities of commercial satellites, Comcept uses the broadband Ka-band transmission capacities of the ATHENA-FINDUS, a Franco-Italian military satellite.

According to Airbus, Comcept can use the high-speed Ka-band of future satellites SYRACUSE 4A and 4B.

Last month, Thales was selected as prime contractor for the ground segment’s development and deployment for capacity expansion of the Syracuse IV system for the French Armed Forces.

Syracuse is a suite of secured telecommunication satellites designed for the French Armed Forces to enable continuous communication between mainland France and other military units deployed worldwide.

Three generations of Syracuse satellites have been deployed during 1984 and 2015.

The Syracuse IV programme is designed to replace the Syracuse 3A and Syracuse 3B satellites currently in orbit, with the first satellite scheduled to enter service next year.