Airbus providing satellite communications for EU missions in Mali, Niger and Somalia

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Airbus Defence and Space is providing satellite communications systems for European Union military training missions in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) as well as for the EUCAP (European Union capacity-building mission) Sahel Niger and EUCAP Sahel Mali civilian missions.

The service is part of the EU SatCom Market framework contract which the European Defence Agency recently awarded to Airbus Defence and Space, the company announced last week.

Airbus Defence and Space teams have deployed C-band satcom systems between Europe and Somalia, Niger and Mali, as well as satellite-based mobile phone terminals to enable communications in Malian and Nigerien territories. Airbus Defence and Space supplies the ground equipment, communications services and airtime.

Airbus Defence and Space has been providing satcom services for the European Defence Agency (EDA) since 2012. Recently, the organisation renewed its framework contract for the provision of satcom for another four years in order to meet the military and civilian requirements of the European missions. This new EU SatCom Market contract now encompasses X-band and UHF-band military satcom services, in addition to commercial C-, Ku-, Ka- and L-band satcom services.
“As the pioneer of satcom services for governments and ministries of defence, we are very proud to keep supporting the EDA and, more broadly, European defence and its actions around the world,” said Bruno Capitant, Head of EMEA & International agencies at the Secure Communications business cluster, Airbus Defence and Space.

The EU SatCom Market agreement allows EU member states to consolidate their requirements and purchase satellite communication capabilities in a coordinated manner, thus ensuring more economical and reliable access to satcom services, Airbus said. Around twenty ministries of defence in Europe and EU organisations are taking part in this project, which allows them to equip themselves with satcom solutions and services across the globe.
“The EU SatCom Market project has successfully developed since 2009 as a solution for interested Members States and EU entities to access better quality satellite communications services, under better economic conditions, with less burden. It is a perfect example of how EDA can combine its industry knowledge, technical expertise and experience in procurement to support EU operations/missions and Member States in their procurement procedures and save scarce resources at no additional cost,” said Roland Van Reybroeck, Director Cooperation Planning & Support at European Defence Agency.

Satellite communications are a mission-critical instrument for connecting command and control centres, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) tools. In light of the increasingly common use of high-throughput applications, like unmanned aerial vehicles on battlefields, a great amount of satcom is needed to enable the control and transmission of data acquired by sensors, Airbus noted.