New satellite communication consortium formed
March 1, 2023
By Chris Forrester
ST Engineering iDirect’s EU Satcom Centre of Excellence, ST Engineering iDirect Europe, located in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, which specialises in the development of ground segment technology and equipment for the EU, is leading a consortium of leading satellite industry players to develop the European Protected Waveform (EPW) for the European Defence Fund (EDF).
The aim is to support satellite communications, high data rates, security, resilience, information assurance and link efficiency technologies which are inextricably linked. The consortium is targeting military operations which are becoming more complex as conflict areas grow more dispersed on a global scale, with a growing need to support a diversity of on-the-move, on-the-pause and fixed platforms on land, in the air and at sea over both GEO and multi-orbit satellite constellations.
The EPW is built around four cornerstones: agile, secure, affordable and interoperable satellite communications. It will be developed in tandem with current and future requirements for military and secure operations considering upcoming disruptive technologies, EU initiatives such as GovSatCom and IRIS2, and multi-layered security and resiliency solutions.
Through the EDF initiative, the investment for an interoperable and affordable secure defence-grade EPW becomes accessible to small and mid-sized European nations alongside large EU nations seeking to embrace today’s and future challenges related to increased throughput demand over satellite, joint operations, mobility and new security threats. The new consortium addresses the growing demand for European autonomy linked to defence and space capabilities.
“The development of waveforms has always been part of our company’s DNA, and we aim to seek the best balance between efficiency, agility and security,” said Koen Willems, VP, EU Programmes and Government Relations. “With their combined knowledge and experience, bringing together these key players under the EPW consortium will equip European countries with highly reliable, seamless satellite communications to ensure that they can communicate with confidence and security no matter where they operate.”
Comprising satcom companies and academia from 12 nations across Europe, the consortium includes: Airbus D&S, Antwerp Space, Amphinicy, Belgian Royal Military Academy, CTG Celestia, Eutelsat, Elital, GISS, Indra, NeoSat, Quadsat, Lasting, Leonardo, LuxGovSat, NLR, OHB, ST Engineering iDirect Europe, Telespazio, Thales Alenia Space and Thales Six. Members will work together over a period of 39 months to design the waveform and accompanying technologies for resilient and secure satellite communications. The project kicked off in January 2023 at the EU Commission
Headquarters, with representation from the EU as well as national and military delegates from participating EU nations.