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Germany awards EUR2.1 billion satcom contract to Airbus

Airbus has been awarded the SATCOMBw 3 contract, providing the Bundeswehr with two new GEO satellites based on the Eurostar Neo platform. Pictured is a rendition of EUTELSAT 36D, a satellite based on the same spacecraft. (Airbus)

Airbus has been awarded a EUR2.1 billion (USD2.26 billion) contract to build, launch, and operate two new geostationary (GEO) satellite communications (satcom) spacecraft for the Bundeswehr.

Spanning 15 years, the contract – SATCOMBw 3 – involves delivering two new satellites and upgrading existing ground segment infrastructure to support operation of the new systems, the company announced on 5 July.

The new satellites, based on Airbus' Eurostar Neo platform and weighing nearly 6 tonnes, will replace COMSATBw 1 and 2 from 2028 to 2029.

A third satellite will be added to the constellation at a later date, Major General Michael Färber, director of capability development and Bundeswehr digitisation, Cyber and Information Domain Service, previously informed Janes at SAE's 2023 Global MilSatCom conference held between 6 and 9 November in London.

During the conference, Maj Gen Färber revealed the Bundeswehr's overarching aim to operate a multi-orbit satellite constellation from 2032 onwards. Meeting this objective will involve developing a new medium Earth orbit (MEO) constellation, comprising up to 24 satellites, he said. The SATCOMBw 3 will form part of this future multi-orbit system.

SATCOMBw is the Bundeswehr's satellite-based communication system, comprising a number of tactical and strategic ground stations that provide secure telecommunications for military users, including voice/data transmissions, video, and multimedia applications.

For more information on the Bundeswehr's satcom efforts, please see Germany to build major MEO constellationand Airbus to continue to support Germany's military satellites.

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