The Ministries of Defence (MoD) of the Netherlands and the Czech Republic have selected Airbus to provide satellite communication (Satcom) services for their armed forces.

The signed contracts will be valid for a period of 15 years.

As part of the deal, the Czech armed forces will use two channels while the Dutch forces will use three channels of Airbus’ ultra-high frequency (UHF) military communications payload.

This military UHF payload will be carried aboard the EUTELSAT 36D telecommunications satellite, which is expected to launch in 2024.

Being manufactured by Airbus, the satellite is based on the company’s Eurostar Neo platform.

Once launched, the military UHF payload will be operated from Airbus’s Network Operations Centre in Toulouse, France.

The satellite will have a total of 18 UHF channels that will provide around 200 simultaneous communications in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, the Indian Ocean to western Australia, the Atlantic Ocean to eastern Brazil and parts of Asia.

The new payload will provide UHF Satcom services to the military forces of European countries and Nato allied and partner nations for undertaking operations on the land, at sea and in the air.

The flexible UHF band offers a lightweight and highly secure means of communication. It will provide a high level of interoperability to support several multinational and coalition missions.

According to Airbus, this UHF band is a comparatively rare orbital resource and will support the capacity shortage worldwide.

The company said that it has already signed multiple firm orders for delivering this service, years ahead of the spacecraft’s launch.

In May 2021, the UK MoD selected Airbus to provide Satcom services under the government’s Skynet 5 modernisation programme.