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Thales wins prime contract for French Army’s SATCOM project

The global defence contractor has secured a deal to enhance the French Armed Forces satellite communications capabilities.

The global defence contractor has secured a deal to enhance the French Armed Forces satellite communications capabilities.

The French Ministry for the Armed Forces has awarded a contract to Thales for the development and deployment of the ground segment for the Syracuse IV satellite communications system.


Specifically, Thales has been tasked with supplying the end-to-end management system required for full interoperability across the French Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as nearly 200 ground terminals.

According to the prime, its Modem 21 anti-jam technology would provide the French Forces with increased data rates and optimisation, helping to deliver sovereignty and information superiority.

Thales claims that its technology would deliver a tenfold increase to the secure communication capabilities of fighting vehicles, surface vessels, submarines, and now also aircraft.

The enhancement is expected to deliver roaming communications in both X- and Ka-band and exploits the multi-spot potential of High Throughput Satellite (HTS) technology.

The new docking terminals are designed to be compatible with third-party satellite resources, depending on the area of deployment, without compromising communications security.


This latest contract forms part of the second phase of development of the Syracuse IV system’s ground segment, with Thales originally selected to supply the satellites in 2015 and to lead the first increment of the ground segment in 2019.

As part of the deal, Thales Alenia Space has been tasked with managing missions for the Syracuse constellation and managing the anchoring capabilities of the operator, the French Defence Ministry's joint infrastructure networks and information systems agency (DIRISI). 

“As prime contractor for the Syracuse III and Syracuse IV ground segments since 2004, Thales is proud to strengthen its partnership with the French Ministry for the Armed Forces to help maintain the informational superiority of the country’s armed forces in highly contested environments,” Marc Darmon, executive vice president, secure communications and information systems at Thales, said.

“The sovereign SATCOM solutions to be supplied under this contract are resilient to all types of threats, combat-proven, and fully interoperable with the systems deployed by NATO coalition forces.” 

This follows Thales' delivery of the second of two Australian-made Modular Data Centres (MDC) to HMAS Harman, with the first MDC delivered to HMAS Stirling in November 2020. 

The MDC units, built in partnership with Adelaide based SME RJE, form part of the Australian Defence Force’s new protected satellite ground stations, a component of Australia’s upgraded military SATCOM capabilities. 

Thales is expected to combine the local development of the MDCs with Syracuse IV and Modem 21 technology from Europe to deliver enhanced SATCOM capability.

[Related: Thales and Army Headquarters to jointly research close combat family of weapons]

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib

News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media

Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.

Thales wins prime contract for French Army’s SATCOM project
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