The Belgian Ministry of Defence has signed a 15-year contract with Airbus to provide the best tactical satellite communications services. The Armed Forces will utilize channels of the Airbus UHF (Ultra High Frequency) military communications hosted payload on board a commercial telecommunications satellite manufactured by Airbus.
Eric Even, head of Marketing and Sales, Connected Intelligence, at Airbus Defence and Space said:
“With this new UHF payload, Airbus will be able to offer a new UHF communications service, scheduled for launch in 2024, to the armed forces, particularly those of European countries and NATO allies,”
According to the deal signed between the two, the company will allow the Belgian Armed Forces to use channels of its Ultra High Frequency (UHF) military communications hosted payload deployed on board an Airbus-built commercial telecommunications satellite. The SATCOM services will be delivered for a period of the next 15 years. It will support various land, sea, and air-based military operations.
The payload comprises 18 UHF channels that will support around 200 communications simultaneously, covering the Middle East, Europe, Africa, the Atlantic Ocean (to eastern Brazil), the Indian Ocean (to western Australia), and large parts of Asia.
It will be controlled by the company’s Network Operations Centre in Toulouse, France.
As the UHF frequency band is a relatively scarce orbital resource, this offering will make up for the capacity shortage around the world. Airbus has already signed several firm orders for this capacity, well ahead of the satellite’s scheduled launch.
The UHF payload will be operated from Airbus’s Network Operations Centre in Toulouse. Its 18 UHF channels will enable up to 200 simultaneous communications over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and large parts of Asia, as well as the Atlantic Ocean (to eastern Brazil) and the Indian Ocean (to western Australia).
Military UHF satcoms is used by the armed forces for operations on land, at sea, and in the air. They have a high level of interoperability and are therefore very useful for multinational and coalition operations. The UHF band is very flexible and offers a lightweight, robust, and highly secure means of communication. An extensive range of terminals for use on land, at sea, and in the air is available to meet the needs of the various armed forces.
Airbus has unique experience in operating UHF MILSATCOM services. This new payload will enhance its portfolio throughout the lifespan of the satellite. Airbus is the only armed forces private SATCOM operator to cover the full spectrum of the military (UHF, X, Ka Mil) and commercial (L, C/Ku, Ka) frequency bands and applications.
Belgium is also planning to make an additional donation of anti-tank and anti-aircraft defense systems to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Defence Minister Ludivine Dedonder announced on Thursday. The news came on the eve of a crucial Ukraine Contact Group meeting in Ramstein, Germany.
On Thursday, Ukraine called on its Western allies to “significantly increase” arms deliveries to stave off Russian forces. The Ukrainian army particularly needs shipments of heavy equipment, which Western armies have been historically hesitant to donate.
In response to questioning from MP Michel De Maegd, the minister recalled that the Belgian Ministry of Defence had already dug deep to support Ukraine, providing both military and civilian support.
The amount of military aid already delivered to Ukraine, excluding the upcoming shipments of anti-tank and anti-aircraft equipment announced on Thursday, already totals €90 million, Dedonder said.