Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: ComSatBw
Parent System: SATCOMBw
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): 2010
Total Production: 2
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Description: SATCOMBw is being developed by EADS SPACE Services GmbH, an EADS subsidiary, to provide the German Armed Forces with a secure, efficient, rapid and global communications capability. It comprises a fleet of communications satellites and several strategic and tactical ground stations as well as a network control system. According to EADS, the first SATCOMBw satellite is scheduled for launch in 2006 and the initial operational capability for the entire system has been slated for 2008. The German Armed Forces will enjoy voice, fax, data, video and multimedia applications anywhere within and outside Germany.
The SATCOMBw terminals will be available for ships, aircraft and ground vehicles as well as fixed and mobile customers. The availability for out of area missions of this communications system will be a breakthrough for the German armed forces. EADS Astrium will be responsible for the constellation launch and ND Satcom Defence, a SES Astra subsidiary, for the development of further ground facilities. In early July 2006, EADS SPACE Services (74.9%) and ND SatCom (25.1%) established a joint venture, MilSat Services GmbH, to carry out SATCOMBw Stage 2 contract.
Following Stage 2 contract official signup ceremony in Koblenz, Germany, between MilSat Services and the Federal Office for Information Management and Information Technology of the Bundeswehr (IT-AmtBw), the SATCOMBw operational capability was delayed to 2009. The contract has an scope of ten years that can be extended to a further 7.5 years according to contract terms. Stage 2 will see two satellites put into orbit and operating in military frequencies (SHF/UHF). Further important subcontractors are EADS Astrium, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the satellite operator Intelsat. Arianespace will be responsible for launching both satellites from the European space centre in Kourou, French Guyana.
Each SATCOMBw spacecraft has a service life of approximately 15 years and will be positioned in geostationary orbit providing communication services over an area stretching from America to eastern Asia. The Bundeswehr will have two types of user station: the larger model will be NATO-compatible and will provide a full spectrum of communication services from voice to multimedia transmissions via satellite. In addition, these user stations will serve as nodes to local mobile and fixed data networks in the theatre of operations. The smaller user station will be man-portable while providing broadband services such as video, internet and access to the Bundeswehr internal information system.
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