BRUSSELS, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Commercial satellite communications capacity is to be provided to Europe's militaries by Astrium of France.
The contract for the services was given Astrium by the European Defense Agency and will be managed by EDA's new European Satellite Communications Procurement Cell.
"As a commercial company and a pioneer in providing mil satcoms to governments and defense ministries, we are very proud to be the first to provide commercial satellite communications to the European Defense Agency through such an innovative scheme," said Eric Beranger, chief executive officer of Astrium Services.
"Being European, Astrium Services is fully engaged in making a significant contribution to European defense."
Under the contract, Astrium Services will provide the EDA with satellite communications in commercial bands -- C, Ku and Ka -- for European military needs, and associated value-added services. Those include leasing of terminals.
The ESCPC will allow EU members to pool needs, purchases and even switch satellite communication capacity between themselves in a coordinated manner.
Member states France, Italy, Poland, Romania and Britain are joining in the ESCPC program.