Astrium has received a contract from the French defence procurement agency (DGA) for the development of the COMplément de Capacités en Elongation, Projection et Théâtre (COMCEPT) system.
COMCEPT is the country's first full-internet protocol (IP) military ultra-fast broadband satellite communications network system, designed to offer a Ka-band ground segment to all the three French armed services for secure online communications starting in 2014.
Astrium Services chief technical officer Eric Souleres said the company would use its experience in the development of UAE military's Yahsat system and Ka-Sat satellite for Eutelsat to create the COMCEPT system.
''Thanks to COMCEPT, the French armed forces will join their American and UAE counterparts in a very select group of armed forces who have military Ka-band networks,'' Soulères said.
Serving as the prime contractor, the company will develop the COMCEPT system and be responsible for its engineering and testing, as well as ensuring it remains operational and secure throughout its service.
Additional options include the integration of vehicles, ships, aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with built-in mobile stations.
The company's partner Actia Sodielec will manage engineering, integration and operational maintenance of the ground stations.
Using COMCEPT, the French military will benefit from a network of fixed and deployable ground stations, which enable an exchange of data, videos and telephone communications through advanced full-IP technology within the country and theatres of operation.
Complementing the communications provided by the French Ministry of Defence's (MoD) existing Syracuse III military communications satellite, the system is also expected to utilise capacity on the Franco-Italian satellite, Athena-Fidus, which is scheduled for launch in the next year.
Work under the contract is scheduled to be carried out for the next 17 years.
Image: The French military's Syracuse III satellite. Photo: copyright Ministere de la Defense 2012.