On 5 January 2015, Arianespace, Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space have announced the signing of a launch services contract for two Comsat NG new-generation military communications satellites.
These two geostationary satellites will be built on behalf of the French defense procurement agency DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement) by the consortium formed by Thales Alenia Space and Airbus Defence and Space.
The two satellites will be fitted with identical payloads, but one will be built on a Spacebus Neo platform from Thales Alenia Space, and the other on a Eurostar platform from Airbus Defence and Space. The Comsat NG satellites will feature all-electric propulsion, and will each weigh about 3,500 kg at launch.
Operating in the X- and Ka-bands, they will offer enhanced performance to meet the evolving needs of French armed forces in terms of communications capacity, flexibility and jamming resistance.
The satellites will be orbited by Ariane 5 launchers from the Guiana Space Center, Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, between 2020 and 2022, with entry into operational service the year after launch.