The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has selected Thales as the prime contractor for the capacity expansion of the Syracuse IV satellite communications system.

Under the contract, the company will lead a second part of the ground segment of the Syracuse IV system to improve interoperable communications capabilities of the French military branches in terms of data rate, availability, threat resistance and end-to-end connectivity.

Notably, Thales was selected for the delivery of the satellites in 2015 and to lead the first increment of the ground segment in 2019.

The latest programme seeks to increase the performance of the ground segment across all theatres of operation and help in meeting capacity requirements of different land, naval and airforce programmes.

Thales Secure Communications and Information Systems executive vice-president Marc Darmon said: “As prime contractor for the Syracuse III and Syracuse IV ground segments since 2004, Thales is proud to strengthen its partnership with the French Ministry for the Armed Forces to help maintain the informational superiority of the country’s armed forces in highly contested environments.

“The sovereign SATCOM solutions to be supplied under this contract are resilient to all types of threats, combat-proven, and fully interoperable with the systems deployed by Nato coalition forces.”

Syracuse is a series of secured telecommunication satellites designed to enable continuous communication between mainland France and other military units deployed across the world.

Three generations of Syracuse satellites were deployed between 1984 and 2015.

The Syracuse IV programme will replace the Syracuse 3A and Syracuse 3B satellites currently in orbit, with the first satellite scheduled to enter service next year.

Last month, Thales secured third delivery order to provide the US Army with the AN/PRC-148D Improved Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radios (IMBITR).