WASHINGTON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The French defense procurement agency has contracted Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defense and Space to construct their next generation of military communication satellites.
The Comsat NG contract covers two military communications satellites for the French armed forces. Once completed, the satellites will be launched to replace the aging Syracuse 3A and Syracuse 3B, which were launched in 2005 and 2006 respectively. The new satellites are scheduled to enter service in 2021.
Thales officials say the satellites will build on the capabilities of the earlier models, including jamming resistance, and address growing data requirements. Each satellite will be equipped with identical X and Ka-band payloads, active anti-jamming antennae, and digital onboard processors.
While the project is a collaboration between Thales Group and Airbus Defense, Thales subsidiary
Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture of Thales Group and Finmeccanica, will serve as the prime contractor in collaboration with Airbus Defense and Space.
"I would like to thank the French Ministry of Defense for choosing us for this strategic contract, reflecting their renewed confidence in Thales Alenia Space," Thales Alenia Space President and CEO Jean Loïc Galle said in a statement.
Company officials add the satellites will offer a design life of 15 years, and help extend the mission of the Syracuse satellites.