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May 2nd, 2017

Definition Study for the Syracuse IV MILSATCOM Ground Segment to be Conducted by Airbus Defence and Space

The French defence procurement agency (Direction Générale de l’Armement) has awarded Airbus Defence and Space a contract to carry out preparatory studies and definition work for the future ground segment of the Syracuse IV satellite-based military telecommunications system — the results of this study will help prepare for the Syracuse IV ground segment construction phase, scheduled to begin in 2018.

The purpose of this one-year study is to examine possible architectures for the Syracuse IV terrestrial network, as well as the new capacity required by the future system. It will scrutinize the pervasiveness of IP (Internet Protocol) technology and the exponential increase in the transmission-speed requirements of the Armed Forces in an ever more interconnected world, while at the same time maintaining security and a very high level of availability.

Airbus Defence and Space delivered the sophisticated ‘Comcept’ very-high speed satellite network to DGA (the French defence procurement agency) in 2015. Comcept is being used by the French Ministry of Defence to complement the Syracuse satellite system with very high-speed and all-IP (Internet Protocol) data transmission capabilities provided by the Ka-band. This initial delivery of the first tranche of the Comcept system also triggered the start of the in-service support phase, which is scheduled to last for 15 years.

Photo is courtesy of Airbus Defense and Space.

The study will include the sizing of the network, flow management and prioritization, using the most advanced network management technologies. Backed by its unique experience of very high-speed satellite networks (in Ka-band), Airbus Defence and Space will also examine the capacity optimization of the future Syracuse IV satellites, notably through the use of the latest generation of modems. This study should also make it possible to define the safeguards and resilience mechanisms needed to deal effectively with cyber threats.

The terrestrial and aeronautical mobility of on-board terminals is one of the major challenges for the Syracuse IV ground segment. The study will benefit from the experience and know-how of Airbus Defence and Space in the field of transport aircraft, intelligence and surveillance, to propose secure high-speed solutions that are both innovative and mature.

The study will also cover the optimization of through-life support and integrated logistical support for the Syracuse IV system, while guaranteeing a very high level of availability.

In France, Airbus Defence and Space is the supplier of the Comcept network, the first all-IP, very high-speed Ka-band satellite communication system and its 400 user ground stations. The Company is also involved in the construction of the Syracuse IV military satellites and provides satellite telecommunication services to the French Armed Forces, under the Astel-S agreement.

Apart from the user ground segment, which is the subject of this study, the Syracuse IV satellite communication program includes the construction of two satellites that, by 2021-2023, will replace the Syracuse 3A and Syracuse 3B satellites currently in orbit. It also comprises the construction of the ground control segment and the configuration of these new satellites, the construction of new Ka-band communication anchor stations and support for these resources for a period of 17 years as of the commissioning of the first satellite.

The satellites, working in X- and Ka-bands, will offer increased performance in terms of communication capacity, flexibility and jamming resistance in order to meet the future needs of the Armed Forces.

According to Eric Souleres, Head of the Communications, Intelligence & Security (CIS) Business Line in France at Airbus Defence and Space, the company is fostering its role as a partner of choice in the field of satellite-based military telecommunications in France. The firm's French teams will be pooling their expertise in the fields of networks, telecommunication satellites, military transmissions and cyber security.