The Belgian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a contract to Airbus for tactical satellite communications (SATCOM) services.  

Under this deal, the company will allow the Belgian Armed Forces to use channels of its Ultra High Frequency (UHF) military communications hosted payload deployed on-board an Airbus-built commercial telecommunications satellite.

The SATCOM services will be delivered for a period of next 15 years. It will support various land-, sea- and air-based military operations.

The payload comprises of 18 UHF channels that will support around 200 communications simultaneously, covering the Middle East, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean (to eastern Brazil), the Indian Ocean (to western Australia) and large parts of Asia.

It will be controlled from the company’s Network Operations Centre in Toulouse, France.

Airbus Defence and Space Connected Intelligence marketing and sales head Eric Even said: “With this new UHF payload, Airbus will be able to offer a UHF communications service, scheduled for launch in 2024, to armed forces, particularly those of European countries and Nato allies.”

In September 2022, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic contracted Airbus to provide UHF SATCOM services for their armed forces.

In another development, Wind River has revealed that it has supported Airbus to achieve the certification milestone for automatic air-to-air refuelling (A3R) on A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) aircraft.

Following this milestone, which was achieved in July last year, MRTT has become the first tanker aircraft across the globe to receive this certification for conducting A3R boom operations in daylight. The first A3R test flight was conducted in 2020.

The air-to-air refuelling boom system fitted onto A330 MRTT uses Wind River’s VxWorks 653 safety platform.