Thales Alenia Space + Telespazio sign follow-on contract with Italian Ministry of Defense to develop SICRAL 3 SATCOM system – SatNews


Thales Alenia Spacethe joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo 33%), and Telespazio, the joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), have signed a monitoring contract with the Italian Ministry of Defense1, for SICRAL 3 (artist rendering below, courtesy of Telespazio) secure satellite communication system and its ground segment.

This last contract concerns the development of stage D2. It continues a complex process that started with initial phases 0/A, followed by phases B and C and several implementation phases, leading to the launch of SICRAL 3A by 2026 and, thereafter, the launch of SICRAL 3B. SICRAL, the Italian Secure Communications and Alerts System, includes geostationary satellites for strategic and tactical communications, which support various defense missions, both in Italy and abroad.

The new SICRAL 3 system is designed to meet Italian defense communication and interoperability requirements. It will ensure continuity with the current telecommunications services in the SHF and UHF bands provided by the SICRAL 1A, 1B and SICRAL 2 satellites, while expanding its range of services with a new Ka-band payload, as well as supporting security, public rescue and civil protection services.

Role of industry To implement the SICRAL 3 program, the two companies making up the space alliance have formed a temporary consortium (RTI), with Thales Alenia Space as lead company and Telespazio as prime contractor. Specifically, Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for the entire telecommunications system, the space segment with system design and integration as well as the design, production and integration of UHF, SHF and Ka-band payloads. innovative.

The SICRAL 3 space segment will consist of two geostationary satellites, Sicral 3A and Sicral 3B. Innovative aspects include satellite platforms, which are characterized by electric propulsion, a highly modular design and a high level of autonomy, guaranteeing the possibility of orbital transfer based on sensors and GNSS/GPS receivers to control positioning. and the attitude of the satellite.

Leonardo will provide the star sensors allowing SICRAL 3 to orient itself and maintain the correct attitude in orbit. Telespazio will be responsible for the highly innovative ground segment, developed in collaboration with the current SICRAL infrastructures at the MoD control center in Vigna di Valle and the Fucino Space Center. In addition, the company will be responsible for the Launch and start-of-orbit phase (LEOP) and In-orbit testing (IoT) satellites.

Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio have already delivered two first-generation SICRAL satellites to the Italian Ministry of Defence, SICRAL 1 (no longer operational) and SICRAL 1B, and the second-generation SICRAL 2 satellite.

The Space Alliance, founded in 2005, is a strategic partnership between Leonardo and Thales, the main industrial groups in the aerospace industry in Italy and France. It includes two joint ventures: Telespazio (Leonardo 67%, Thales 33%) and Thales Alenia Space (Thales 67%, Leonardo 33%).

The complementarity of the capabilities of Thales Alenia Space in satellite systems and of Telespazio in related services provides Space Alliance with all the advantages necessary to meet market needs, which are increasingly focused on applications related to space technologies. Telespazio and Thales Alenia Space offer a unique range of products and services, covering field communications, navigation, scientific research and observation, allowing the two companies to consolidate their positions in the aerospace, defense and security.

Drawing on more than 40 years of experience and a unique combination of skills, expertise and cultures, Thales Alenia Space offers cost-effective solutions for telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation, climate management environment, exploration, science and orbital infrastructures. Governments and private industry rely on Thales Alenia Space to design satellite systems that provide anytime, anywhere connectivity and positioning, monitor our planet, improve the management of its resources, and explore our solar system and beyond. of the.

Thales Alenia Space sees space as a new horizon, helping to build a better and more sustainable life on Earth. A joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), Thales Alenia Space is also joining forces with Telespazio to form the parent company Space Alliance, which offers a full range of services. Thales Alenia Space achieved consolidated revenue of approximately €2.15 billion in 2021 and has approximately 8,900 employees in 10 countries with 17 sites in Europe and a factory in the United States.

The contract signed today is the result of a long and fruitful collaboration between our company and the Italian Ministry of Defence,” said Massimo Claudio Comparini, Deputy General Manager Observation, Exploration and Navigation at Thales Alenia Space. “Thanks to the experience acquired in national programs such as SICRAL and COSMO-SkyMed, as well as our proven expertise in the design and production of terrestrial and space systems, the Italian space industry retains all its leadership capacity in the providing end-to-end solutions. for large scale integrated systems.”

This contract confirms the enormous importance of the space sector for the MoD and reflects the extremely high standard set by Italian industry, represented today by the Space Alliance.“, said the lieutenant-general engineer Angelo Gervasio, Director of TELEDFE. “Italian industry has largely proven its ability not only to produce systems capable of meeting the complex needs of national defense, but also to assert its position in the highly competitive international market..”

Luigi Pasquali, Leonardo’s Space Activities Coordinator and CEO of Telespazio, added: “Thanks to SICRAL 3, Italy and NATO can continue to rely on safe and efficient satellite communications. Leonardo and Thales, through the Space Alliance, are very proud of SICRAL. It is a textbook case of complex space program management and excellent collaboration between industry and the Ministry of Defence. By continuing this program and expanding the services provided, in particular with the new Ka-band capacity and the IW (Integrated Waveform) platform, the Italian Ministry of 1 Represented by the Director of the Directorate of Computing, Telematics and Advanced Technologies ( TELEDIFE) of the General Secretariat for Defense and the National Armaments Directorate (Segredifesa), 2 Phase D (Development) covers the production period of the components and the integration of the various subsystems. Defense will deploy the required operational capability and consolidate its existing partnership with industry on UHF services.”

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