skip to main content

Germany to build major MEO constellation

The Bundeswehr aims to operate a multi-orbit satcom space architecture comprising its future MEO constellation and GEO spacecraft as well as through utilising LEO services from its partners. Pictured is one of the current GEO COMSATBw spacecraft. (EADS Astrium)

The German Bundeswehr aims to develop its own medium Earth orbit (MEO) constellation consisting of up to 24 satellites, Janes learnt at SAE's 2023 Global MilSatCom conference held between 6 and 9 November in London.

Speaking at the conference, Major General Michael Färber, director of capability development and Bundeswehr digitisation, Cyber and Information Domain Service, said the ambition was to have a MEO satellite communications (satcom) constellation from 2032 onwards to reach “our diversification goal of a sovereign operated multi-orbital system in GEO [geostationary orbit], LEO [low Earth orbit], and MEO”.

This multi-orbital system is the Bundeswehr's overarching satcom objective, which intends to be operated from approximately 2035 onwards and seeks to exploit “the advantages of all three orbital systems [GEO, MEO, and LEO], while also creating redundancies, [and] so increasing resilience”, Färber said.

The Bundeswehr currently operates two GEO satcom satellites – COMSATBw 1B and 2B – due to reach their operational end-of-life in 2028. A programme called ‘SATCOMBw Stage 3' aims to replace these satellites with new systems from 2028/29. According to Färber, a third satellite will be added at a later date.

In addition to this, the Bundeswehr aims to integrate its military requirements into the European Union's future multi-orbit IRIS² (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnection & Security by Satellites) satcom constellation and utilise its LEO services.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...