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Large French aircraft to receive secure satellite connectivity

8th February 2022 - 16:39 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Thales and its partners developed a compact SATCOM device for installation aboard French Air and Space Force aircraft. (Image: Thales)

New contract will see Thales install secure SATCOM aboard aircraft such as the A330 MRTT and A400M.

Thales announced on 8 February that it is leading a team to equip the Phénix Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) and other French Air and Space Force aircraft with a secure SATCOM solution under a 17-year contract within the Syracuse IV military communications programme.

The value of the deal was undisclosed.

Phénix is the French Air and Space Force designation for the Airbus A330 MRTT. The French Air and Space Force operates three of these aircraft with 12 more on order or planned, according to Shephard Defence Insight.

To meet the connectivity needs of the French Air and Space Force as high-intensity conflict returns, Thales will provide a resilient, high-data-rate satellite station by 2025 that is capable of connecting large military aircraft in all circumstances.

The SATCOM station will therefore be compatible with installation on the fuselage of other large aircraft in French service, such as the A400M airlifter and AWACS surveillance aircraft.

Thales stated that its team and partners within the French MoD ‘successfully overcame a host of technical challenges to design a highly compact device, despite aeronautical and electromagnetic constraints, achieve extremely high-precision pointing to maintain a stable link with the satellite during aircraft manoeuvres, and manage cyber threats’.

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