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France Expands Secure Satcom Capabilities

Thales Selected as Prime Contractor for Ground Segment Second Phase

Thales has been selected as prime contractor to lead a second phase of ground segment expansion for the French SYRACUSE IV satcom system for the French armed forces, the company announced on 18 February.

The company was selected to supply the satellites in 2015 and to lead the first increment of the ground segment in 2019. This second capacity increment will enhance the interoperable communications capabilities of the French armed forces in terms of data rate, availability, threat resistance and end-to-end connectivity.

This crucial programme milestone will enhance the performance of the ground segment across all theatres of operation for the French military. The Thales solution will meet the capacity requirements of programmes such as SCORPION, FREMM, FDI, BARRACUDA, the new aircraft carrier, and RAFALE. It aims to increase tenfold the secure communication capabilities of fighting vehicles on the move, surface vessels, submarines, and now also aircraft. The solution guarantees roaming communications in both X- and Ka-band and fully exploits the multi-spot potential of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology.  

All the ground terminals in the system will be able to make optimum use of the SYRACUSE IV constellation. Their full interconnection via new docking terminals will allow for a considerable increase in data rate, by ensuring joint cooperation in theatres of operations and with command centres. They will also be compatible with third-party satellite resources, depending on the area of deployment, without compromising communications security.

To achieve this objective, Thales will leverage its high-level systems integration expertise, and in particular its highly secure Modem 21 transmission system, to guarantee the availability and confidentiality of all communications and provide protection from the full spectrum of threats with no impact on operational performance, which is key to retaining information superiority in high-intensity combat. Thales’ NATO-standard Modem 21 solution has been proven in combat for over ten years.

Thales Alenia Space will provide mission management for the SYRACUSE constellation and management of the anchoring capabilities of the operator, the French Defence Ministry’s joint infrastructure networks and information systems agency (DIRISI). The company is also lead contractor for the 2015 contract for the supply of the space segment, consisting of the SYRACUSE 4A and 4B satellites and their control and mission ground segment.

As prime contractor for the SYRACUSE III and SYRACUSE IV ground segments since 2004, Thales [helps to] maintain the informational superiority of the country’s armed forces in highly contested environments. The sovereign satcom solutions to be supplied under this contract are resilient to all types of threats, combat-proven, and fully interoperable with the systems deployed by NATO coalition forces,” explained Marc Darmon, Executive VP, Secure Communications and Information Systems, Thales.

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