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Airbus to continue to support Germany's military satellites

The COMSATBw spacecraft were developed in collaboration with Airbus Defence and Space, Thales Alenia Space, and TESAT. The systems are the first dedicated military communications satellites operated by the Bundeswehr. (EADS Astrium)

Airbus will continue to operate and provide support for Germany's military satellite communication (satcom) systems.

Announced by the Bundeswehr on 9 February, the company has been awarded a contract extension for the operation of the authority's COMSATBw 1 and 2 satellites until 31 December 2028.

The deal is valued at EUR52.8 million (USD56.7 million) and will ensure continued access to secure satcom and shore up Germany's orbital position in space.

COMSATBw-1 and COMSATBw-2 are two geostationary orbit (GEO)-based satellites that form part of the Bundeswehr's wider satellite-based communication system – SATCOMBw – which includes a number of tactical and strategic ground stations. The satellites provide secure telecommunications for military users, including voice/data transmissions, video, and multimedia applications.

Fully operational since 2010, the satellites have a 15-year service life and operate in ultra-high frequency (UHF) and super high frequency (SHF).

In 2006, MilSat Services (a joint venture between Airbus Defence and Space and ND SatCom) were awarded a 10-year EUR938.7 million contract for stage 2 of the SATCOMBw programme, which involved delivering two satellites – COMSATBw 1 and 2. The agreement included an option to extend the contract for an additional 7.5 years. This contract option was subsequently exercised in 2016 with the company for EUR145 million, which required the continued operation of the COMSATBw satellites, their teleport, and associated networks until 2022.

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