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Airbus Wins German Deal for Military Satellite System

By Mark Holmes | July 8, 2024

Artists rendering of the German SATCOMBw 3 system. Photo: Airbus

Airbus has won a large new military contract in Europe. The German Armed Forces, the Bundeswehr, has awarded Airbus the SATCOMBw 3 prime contract for the next generation secure military satellite system which includes Geostationary (GEO) satellites as well as ground segment, launch, and operation for 15 years.

Airbus announced the 2.1 billion euros ($2.3 billion) deal on July 4. The spacecraft are due to be deployed before the end of the decade.

The contract covers the design, integration, test and in orbit delivery of two new Airbus-built military GEO telecommunications satellites which are the successor communications satellites to COMSATBw 1B and 2B. It also includes upgrading of the existing ground segment to operate the new satellites as well as operational services for 15 years, with the possibility of extension. The new generation Airbus satellites are based on the Eurostar Neo platform and will weigh around 6 metric tons.

The Bundeswehr’s satellite communications system (SATCOMBw) aims to ensure the global command and information capability of the German armed forces, such as operational contingents and special forces. The SATCOMBw 3 project also aims to ensure that NATO commitments in this area will continue to be met. With SATCOMBw 3, the Bundeswehr is responding to increased user requirements.

“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. Long term partnerships are crucial to guaranteeing essential sovereignty and capability, and protecting our armed forces in the increasingly unstable geopolitical environment,” Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said in a statement.