PARIS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- A contract to develop and produce the ground segment of the French military's future observation satellite system has been given to Airbus Defense and Space.
DGA, the country's armament procurement agency, said the contract is worth less than $410 million and includes a 12-year operational support provision.
The multinational Space-based Imaging System for Surveillance, or MUSIS, will progressively replace the country's Helios 2 optical system, beginning in 2017. It will allow the identification of smaller targets, increase the volume of imagery, and reduce the time in distributing the imagery.
Airbus Defense and Space, formerly known as Astrium, and Thales Alenia Space was awarded a contract in 2010 to produce two of the system satellites.
"This contract has been secured thanks to the technological excellence and reliability of Space Systems in the space domain, which is currently experiencing especially intense competition in major institutional markets," said Francois Auque, head of Airbus Defense and Space's Space Systems division. "Astrium's know-how and that of our partners, chief among them the teams at Cassidian -- with whom we now work together in the same division -- made all the difference with our customer, the DGA."