The French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) has taken delivery of the COMplément de Capacités en Elongation, Projection et Théâtre (COMCEPT) system from Airbus Defence and Space.
In 2012, the DGA commissioned the company and Actia Telecom for development of the COMCEPT ground system and network, which is scheduled to be used by the French Defence Ministry to complement the Syracuse satellite system with very high-speed and all-internet protocol (IP) data transmission capabilities provided by the Ka frequency band.
The 17-year contract covers the supply of COMCEPT network systems including two docking stations, two redundant mission centres and fixed and deployable terminals, facilitating the exchange of data, videos and telephone communications using all-IP technology.
Scheduled to be used for operation of the Franco-Italian Athena-Fidus satellite, the ground segment will also be compatible with future commercial satellites operating in the Ka-band frequency, to help supplement the satellite's capabilities.
Comprising 20 high data rate (HDR) stations in mobile shelters with 2.4m antennas providing bandwidth up to 10 Mbit/s, the delivery of first tranche of COMCEPT system also marks the beginning of the in-service support phase, which is scheduled to run for 15 years.
Airbus Defence and Space communications, intelligence and security (CIS) business line operations and engineering head Eric Souleres said: "With COMCEPT, the French Army joins the United States and the United Arab Emirates in a very select group of armed forces with satellite-based military Ka-band networks."
Actia Telecom and Airbus Defence and Space are scheduled to deliver more than 250 metropolitan theatre terminal (TMT) stations with 1m antennas in fixed or mobile containers and 50 small-size terminal (SDT) stations with 0.7m antennas that can be transported in suitcases, later this year.
As the prime contractor for COMCEPT, Airbus leads system engineering and validation, the delivery of the network equipment for two docking stations, the two mission centres and the associated in-service support.
Actia is responsible for tasks related to the engineering, integration and operational maintenance of the users' ground stations.
The contract also offers the possibility for procurement of additional fixed and deployable ground stations that could be used both in France and in theatres of operations.