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Global MilSatCom 2022: French Syracuse satellite confirmed for launch in 2023

Syracuse 4B will be launched in early 2023, following the successful launch of Syracuse 4A in October 2021. In the picture is the Syracuse 4A satellite. (Thales Alenia Space)

A French military satellite communications (satcom) system will be launched in 2023.

Speaking at the Global MilSatCom 2022 conference and exhibition held in London between 8 and 10 November, Lieutenant Colonel Marina Ballanger, Satcom International Affairs at the French defence procurement agency (Direction générale de l'armement: DGA), announced that the launch date for the Syracuse 4B satellite has been confirmed for early 2023.

Development of the satellite is expected to be completed by December 2022, and ready for its launch date in early 2023, she said.

The Syracuse IV programme, launched in 2015 and valued at EUR3.6 billion (USD3.6 billion), involves the complete renewal of the Syracuse III satellites and ground stations. Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space are prime contractors.

Three geostationary satcom satellites – 4A, 4B, and 4C – will form the space segment. The satellites will produce a throughput three times higher (1.5 Gbit/sec) than Syracuse III by operating in both X and Ka bands. This increase in throughput will make it possible to connect more ground stations, therefore, enabling a greater number of users simultaneously. The satellites will also be highly resistant to jamming.

Up to 400 ground stations are planned as part of Syracuse IV, according to Lt Col Ballanger, and the DGA is in the process of “preparing optimised maintenance and training for all of the stations and terminals”.

Studies for the 4C satellite have started, and contractual activity on an on-the-move satcom capability is ongoing, Lt Col Ballanger said.

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