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Italy to enhance SSA with new ground-based sensors

Flyeye is a multiple-optics telescope with a very wide field of view that will be capable of classifying objects in space as small as 15 cm in LEO and 35 cm in MEO. The 6.5 m high and 4 m wide telescope will be used by the Italian Space Agency and military for SSA. (OHB Italia)

The Italian National Armaments Directorate (NAD) is procuring three ground-based sensors to enhance the country's space situational awareness (SSA), Janes learnt at the Military Space Situational Awareness Conference 2024, held in London from 22 to 24 April.

In total, two optical telescopes and one high-performance radar are being procured as part of its national SSA plans, Lieutenant Colonel Ferdinando Dolce, the head of SSA at NAD, said at the conference.

The first sensor being procured is a high-performance optical surveillance telescope from OHB Italia called Flyeye, Lt Col Dolce said.

Flyeye will have the capacity to monitor objects in low Earth orbit (LEO), medium Earth orbit (MEO), and geostationary orbit (GEO), Commander of the Space Situational Awareness Centre at the Italian Air Force Colonel Dario Tarantino told Janes . The system will achieve initial operating capability (IOC) in 2027 and full operating capability (FOC) by 2029, he added.

The second optical sensor being procured is a small telescope that will improve Italy's ability to monitor and protect its SICRAL (Italian System for Secure Communications and Alerts) GEO satellites. The procurement process is under way, with a contract being finalised, Lt Col Dolce said. He was unable to comment on which company had been selected. Italy already has two telescopes which monitor SICRAL, although, a third capability is required to augment and improve performance, he added.

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