Syracuse IV, the French satellite-based telecommunications programme

The Syracuse IV satellite-based telecommunications programme aims to equip the French armed forces with secure means of communication that are accessible in all scenarios (crises, major disasters, etc.).

This programme comprises two military satellites, Syracuse 4A and 4B, and ground stations for users in the three services (army, air force and navy), and enables long-range communication between operations areas and decision-making centres in mainland France.

Commissioning of a new generation of Syracuse IV satellites for the space segment in response to increased demand for secure telecommunications

In 2015, Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space joined forces to contribute their expertise to producing two satellites that, by 2022-2023, will replace the operational satellites Syracuse 3A and Syracuse 3B currently in orbit. This also includes the execution of the ground control segment and the configuration of these new satellites, the completion of new Ka-band anchor stations, and support for these systems over a 17-year period from the commissioning of the first satellite.

These two satellites will be able to respond to the increase in data transmission as part of the digitalisation of the battlefield. They will also provide long-distance capacity to new users, such as drones, armoured vehicles, and aircraft in the French Air Force and Navy.

The satellites, operating using X- and Ka-bands, will offer increased performance in terms of communication capacity, flexibility and resistance to jamming in order to meet the future needs of armed forces.

Syracuse IV

The future ground segment of military telecommunications via the Syracuse IV satellite

Airbus was also notified in 2017 of a definition study on preparatory work and on the future ground segment for military telecommunications via the Syracuse IV satellite. The objective was to contribute to preparing the execution phase of the Syracuse IV ground segment. This definition work enabled possible architectures for Syracuse IV's ground network to be studied, in addition to the new capacities to be allocated to the future system through new user ground stations. In particular, it must respond to the widespread adoption of IP (Internet Protocol) technology and armed forces' exponentially increasing data transmission requirements in an ever more interconnected world, whilst ensuring a very high level of availability and security.

In 2021, Airbus was awarded a 10-year framework agreement called Copernicus for the construction and upgrading of part of the ground segment for the telecommunications satellites used by the French Armed Forces. Copernicus covers the development of the future satellite communications management system for the French Ministry of Defence. This unique portal called Pegasus, accessible to all units, will enable the French Armed Forces to optimise use of the available capacities on military and commercial satellites. It will make it possible to coordinate requests entered by central military staff or any unit deployed on the ground, at sea or in the air.

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