As of 1 October, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has taken over the provision of satellite communications (satcom) services for the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia.
EUTM Somalia is the first Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) military mission to draw on the option of the EDA to cover its requirement for SatCom services. Earlier this year, Athena – the mechanism established to finance CSDP military operations – joined the EDA’s EU SatCom Market as part of its efforts to improve the procurement process of the different operations, the EDA said.
Through the Agency, the mission benefits from a strategic link between Somalia and Europe. The services include rental, shipping and installation of a C-band remote terminal in Mogadishu International Airport as well as a high data rate unclassified satellite link with anchoring in Europe. The services include also 24/7 technical support and on site-intervention if required.
In the coming months, the Agency will also take over the provision of Mobile Satellite Services for the operations EU NAVFOR Atalanta, EUTM Mali and EUTM Somalia as well as Athena Central.
Speaking about the cooperation, Brigadier General Antonio Maggi, EUTM Somalia Operation Commander said: “Thanks to the excellent cooperation between the EUTM J6 team, EDA and the contractor, EUTM Somalia will benefit from a reliable and secure connection with Europe for its Command and Control chain.”
EDA’s Chief Executive, Jorge Domecq added: “Supporting CSDP operations is one of the core missions of the EDA. I am confident this first example will pave the way for other CSDP military operations to make extensive use of all the support the Agency can provide.”
On 10 April 2010, the European Union launched a military training mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) in order to contribute to strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the institutions of Somalia. This support is part of the EU’s comprehensive engagement in Somalia, which aims to support stabilising the country and to respond to the needs of the Somali people.
Since 2010, EUTM Somalia has contributed to the training of approximately 3,600 Somali soldiers with a focus on the training of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), Junior Officers, specialists and trainers.
Within the EU SatCom Market project, EDA acts as the central purchasing body on behalf of the contributing members. It purchases the services from a commercial provider. The project uses a ‘pay-per-use’ model, so members do not have to contribute with regular fees, instead they only pay for what they order. Since May 2013, 24 orders have been passed for a total value of around €4 million. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom and the Athena Mechanism are members of the project. Further participation is open to all EDA participating Member States as well as all entities entitled to take part in Agency activities.
Athena is the mechanism established to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications.