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Thales Appointed Prime Contractor for €1.3 bn Syracuse III Ground Segment Contract

Thales Appointed Prime Contractor for €1.3 bn Syracuse III Ground Segment Contract

Source: Thales, Neuilly-sur-Seine, 02 Dec 2004.

The French defence procurement agency (DGA) has appointed Thales as prime contractor for the ground segment of the Syracuse III military satellite communication system. The system will provide end-to-end communication services between mainland France and out-of-area theatres of operations and offer Internet services in the battlespace. Syracuse III will provide French forces with the interoperability and security required for out-of-area deployments by joint multinational forces. Thales will be working with Alcatel Space, which is prime contractor for the space segment for which it is building the first two satellites. Alcatel Space will have a 30% workshare on the ground segment.

The contract includes the development, acquisition and through-life support services of the full complement of Syracuse III communication systems and equipment. Thales will guarantee service availability under operational level agreements until 2020, and deliver a total of 600 satcom terminals. The contract amounts to €1.3 billion, with an initial order worth €160 million.

"This contract will provide the armed forces with guaranteed service and performance throughout the system life cycle," said DGA programme director Caroline Laurent. "The award comes after design and definition phases lasting more than two years, which were conducted in close cooperation between industry and government."

The success confirms Thales' role as prime contractor on major defence communications systems for joint forces, and opens up new opportunities for growth on European and NATO markets at a time when the emergence of network-centric operations is driving a deep-seated transformation of the armed forces.

Syracuse III will enhance the operational effectiveness and interoperability of the armed forces in various ways:

- protection of communications against jamming, thanks to the Thales-developed Modem XXI, the world's only new-generation military modem to protect high-data-rate communications from electronic warfare threats
- provision of Internet services in the battlespace, based on the insertion of IP technology in the Aristote system
- optimised use of satcom resources for higher user bandwidth availability
- provision of Talisman portable tactical satcom terminals to special forces
- central management system for optimised operation.

Working with Thales, Alcatel Space will assume certain prime contracting tasks for the ground segment and produce anchoring stations for installation in France, as well as some of the earth stations and the broadcasting network.

  • C4ISR*: Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance

About Thales
Thales is an international electronics and systems group serving defence, aerospace, security and services markets. The Group employs 61,500 people worldwide and generated revenues of 10.6 billion euros in 2003.

About Alcatel Space
Alcatel Space, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alcatel, is a global leader for satellite solutions. Deploying extensive dual expertise in civil and military applications, Alcatel Space develops complete system solutions for telecommunications, navigation, environment and risk management, radar and optical observation, meteorology and scientific satellites. It is also the leading European prime contractor for ground segments in earth observation, meteorology and navigation systems, as well as space system operation. For more information, visit the Alcatel Space web site.

  • Press contacts:

Thales : Matt Pothecary, Tel: +33 1 57 77 86 26; Anne Lechevranton, Tel: +33 (0)1 41 30 47 47
Alcatel Space :
Laurent Zimmermann, Tel: +33 (0)1 55 66 14

  • Notes to editors: Modem XXI

Under the Syracuse III programme, Thales is developing Modem XXI, the world's first new-generation military modem to protect high-data-rate communications from electronic warfare threats (jamming, intrusion). Modem XXI will complement the jamming resistance capabilities of the active antennas on board the Syracuse III satellites. Alcatel Space is responsible for overall system performance testing and validation.
In 2003, Modem XXI successfully completed testing under real jamming conditions. That test campaign included demonstrations at DGA and NATO sites, during which staff from the procurement agency and the NATO Consultation Command & Control Agency (NC3A) had an opportunity to measure the modem's performance. The first series-produced equipment will be delivered to the French Army in 2005 for system evaluation under operational conditions. Fully compliant with NATO standard STANAG 4606, Modem XXI provides the interoperability needed on multinational operations and makes it possible to implement secure communications services in the satcom systems deployed by NATO members.

  • Aristote long range transit network

One of the central systems in the Syracuse III ground segment, Aristote provides communications services between France and units deployed in the theatre of operations, and optimises the transmission capacity of the Syracuse III satellites. The Aristote system's capacity to provide the armed forces with the interoperability they require during out-of-area deployments of joint, multinational forces has been demonstrated on several operational exercises. In particular, Aristote was successfully deployed as a theatre-level backbone network on the EOLO 2004 exercise from 16-22 October. Aristote is currently deployed in external theatres of operations and other locations overseas. The Joint Staff of the French armed forces (EMA) recently announced its entry into operational service, confirming the system's ability to connect users in France with all national or NATO networks deployed in a theatre of operations.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).