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Northrop taps Airbus for military SATCOM support

Northrop taps Airbus for military SATCOM support

The prime has tasked Airbus with delivering satellites for a prototype constellation supporting a Joint All-Domain Command and Control network.

The prime has tasked Airbus with delivering satellites for a prototype constellation supporting a Joint All-Domain Command and Control network.

Airbus US Space & Defense has been selected by Northrop Grumman as the commercial provider of satellite platforms for a proliferated-LEO constellation as part of a broader contract from the Space Development Agency (SDA).

Northrop Grumman is the lead contractor for the SDA project, tasked with developing and fielding a portion of its Tranche 1 Transport Layer (T1TL) constellation.

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The T1TL network is designed to provide persistent, secure connectivity for the US military, serving key functions of Joint All-Domain Command and Control.

As part of its subcontract, Airbus US is expected to supply 42 satellite bus platforms, while also supporting vehicle assembly, integration and testing.

Leveraging its ARROW platform, the Airbus US offering is expected to build on its commoditised satellite bus design to provide more power and a larger payload accommodation.

This includes a scalable 300–500-kilogram bus for the Northrop Grumman payload and future US government missions.  

Airbus OneWeb Satellites (AOS) is set to oversee assembly. 

“The SDA Tranche 1 Transport Layer is a critical national security program, and we are honoured to support Northrop Grumman and the Space Development Agency,” Rob Geckle, president and CEO of Airbus US Space and Defense, said.

“This award underscores Airbus US’ mission to develop and deliver in the US technology critical to the US warfighter.”

Airbus is the latest company to support Northrop Grumman’s project, joining Mynaric and Innoflight, selected in May to supply laser communications and encryption, decryption capabilities.

Blake Bullock, vice president, communication systems, strategic space systems at Northrop Grumman welcomed Airbus to the team, noting the company’s satellite production experience.

“The addition of Airbus US as one of our key commercial suppliers complements our end-to-end satellite system integration and heritage communication mission expertise,” Bullock said.  

[Related: Northrop Grumman, Raytheon progress through hypersonic missile defence program]

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