Airbus to provide German military with communications satellite system 

Satellite SATCOMBw 3 / Airbus

Airbus has secured a €2.1 billion contract with Germany’s armed forces, the Bundeswehr, to develop a secure satellite communication system called SATCOMBw 3. 

The deal covers the design, integration, testing and in-orbit delivery of two geostationary satellites, which will replace the current COMSATBw 1B and 2B satellites. The two spacecraft are due to be deployed before the end of the decade.  

The contract also involves an upgrade of the existing ground systems to enable operation of new satellites, along with operational services to be provided for 15 years. Airbus will partner with local space companies such as Bremen-based OHB. 

“At a time when Western democracies are challenged and where the European institutional space ecosystem is struggling, we are excited and grateful to develop and build this leading-edge system,” commented Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space in a press release. “Long term partnerships are crucial to guaranteeing essential sovereignty and capability and protecting our armed forces in the increasingly unstable geo-political environment.” 

The new Airbus satellites, which weigh around six metric tons, will be based on the Eurostar Neo platform. The spacecraft will be designed to cope with the constantly increasing volume of data transfer throughout their service life.  

The SATCOMBw 3 satellite communication system provides autonomous communication and information services. It enables global command and information capabilities for the German armed forces, including operational contingencies and special forces. 

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