Advanced Television

German army orders Airbus satellites

July 8, 2024

By Chris Forrester

The European Commission wants to build a new satellite constellation called IRIS2. A consortium (SpaceRise) has submitted its best and final bid to secure the contract to build the highly-secure system which will be targeted at military, governmental and potentially consumer users. However, Germany has not been keen on the proposal and has issued very public reservations about IRIS2.

On July 4th Germany announced that it had awarded a contract to Airbus Defence and Space to build two geostationary satellites to serve its military communications for the German army (Bundeswehr).

The contract is worth some €2.1 billion and the two 6,000 kgs satellites will be deployed by the end of the decade, The order includes the prime contractor of two satellites “as well as the ground segment (receiving stations), launch and operation for 15 years,” Airbus said in a statement.

“At a time when Western democracies are challenged and where the European institutional space ecosystem is struggling, we are excited and grateful to develop and build this leading-edge system,” said Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space.

The new generation Airbus satellites are based on the Eurostar Neo platform and will weigh around six metric tons. They will have extensive capabilities to keep pace with the rapid changes in digitalisation and the constantly increasing volume of data transfer required. They will also feature the latest state of the art technologies.

A key element of the overall contract is said to be an in-depth German value chain involving partners such as Bremen-based OHB and numerous smaller German companies. Central elements including the guidance and integration of the advanced payloads, the solar arrays and overall operation of the spacecraft will be supplied by German companies.

The Bundeswehr’s satellite communications system (SATCOMBw) is indispensable for autonomous and independently deployable communications and information services.

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