Airbus signed a contract with the Belgian Ministry of Defence, the company announced last week. Airbus will provide tactical satellite communications services for the Armed Forces over a 15-year period.
Airbus plans to launch its new Ultra High Frequency (UHF) communications service in 2024 for the armed forces in other European countries and NATO allies. An Airbus-manufactured commercial telecommunications satellite will carry the Airbus UHF military communications hosted payload for use in land, sea, and air operations.
The new offering from Airbus is especially valuable because the UHF frequency band is a somewhat scarce resource. The UHF band is flexible and it provides a lightweight but highly secure means of communication.
The payload, which has 18 UHF channels, will be operated from Toulouse, where Airbus’s Network Operations Centre is located. It enables numerous simultaneous communications over the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean in addition to Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, as well as several areas in Asia.
Military UHF satcoms are incredibly useful for multinational and coalition operations because of their high level of interoperability. According to the company, “Airbus is the only private satcom operator to offer the full spectrum of military (UHF, X, Ka Mil) and commercial (L, C/Ku, Ka) frequency bands and applications” for armed forces.
It was also announced this week that Airbus Defense and Space shipped the Inmarsat-6 satellite to Florida in advance of its February launch. Final testing and integration of the I-6 F2 will take place over the next three weeks. The satellite will launch later this month on a SpaceX Falcon 9.
Airbus launched a new on-board open ecosystem for commercial aviation, called Airspace Link, last year. At the APEX Expo in October, the company revealed that its GeniusLINK solution—another on-board open ecosystem—is available for third-party fleets. GeniusLINK and Airspace Link both offer multi-purpose platforms.
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