Secure satellite telecommunications across a full scope of scenarios

The Syracuse IV satellite-based telecommunications programme is equipping the French Armed Forces with secure means of communications 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, Navy, and the country’s Air and Space Force), enabling long-range communications between areas of operations and the decision-making centres in mainland France.

A response to battlefield digitalization

In 2015, Airbus Defence and Space and Thales Alenia Space joined forces to contribute their expertise to produce two satellites that, by 2022-2023, will replace the operational Syracuse 3A and Syracuse 3B satellites currently in orbit. This also includes the execution of the ground control segment and the configuration of these new satellites, along with the completion of new Ka-band anchor stations and support for these systems over a 17-year period from the commissioning of the initial Syracuse IV satellite – Syracuse 4A – which was orbited in October 2021.

Relay capabilities of the two Syracuse IV satellites respond to the increased data transmission needed for digitalisation of the battlefield. These Earth-orbiting platforms also will provide long-distance capacity to new categories of users, such as drones and armoured vehicles, as well as aircraft operated by the French Air and Space Force and the Navy.

Operating in the X- and Ka-bands, the satellites offer increased performance in terms of communications capacity, flexibility and resistance to jamming, thereby meeting the future needs of armed forces.

Syracuse IV

Upgrading the ground segment

In addition to its role in developing the Syracuse IV satellites, Airbus was tasked in 2017 with preparatory studies and definition work for the Syracuse IV ground segment.

This work contributed to preparing the execution phase for the Syracuse IV ground segment, enabling the ground network’s architectures to be studied, in addition to defining the capacities allocated to the system through new user ground stations. In particular, this takes into account the widespread adoption of IP (Internet Protocol) technology and the armed forces' exponentially increasing data transmission requirements in an ever more interconnected world, all while ensuring a very high level of availability and security.

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

Skynet V

Skynet 5

A proven and trusted partnership

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More than 10 years of service to the German Armed Forces