Turkey’s Minister for Transport & Communications, Ahmet Arslan, says the country is in final negotiations with Airbus Defense & Space for a contract to build two communications satellites, Turksat 5A and 5B.
Reuters is reporting that Airbus has submitted the best bid for the two craft and it is now likely that a contract will be signed this month although the delivery schedule is tight. Turkey wants 5A to be launched in 2020 and 5B the following year, and both somewhat later than initially planned.
Airbus is also reported to have submitted a bid for Turkey’s next-generation Turksat 6A satellite although this craft is not part of the 5A/5B contract. Turksat 6A is being built in Turkey although it is possible that certain components will be sourced from outside the country.
Airbus reportedly were the under-bidders for 5A/5B against Japan’s Mitsubishi Electric and Canada’s MDA/SS-L. Mitsubishi built Turksat 4A and 4B.
Turksat 5A will go to 31 degrees East orbital position, while 5B will be positioned at 42 degrees East where there is said to be considerable demand for capacity.