Airbus will be able to offer a new UHF communications service to the armed forces, particularly those of European countries and NATO allies. As the UHF frequency band is a relatively scarce orbital resource, this offering will make up for the capacity shortage around the world. Airbus has already signed the first firm orders for this capacity, well ahead of the satellite’s scheduled launch in the first half of 2024.
The UHF payload will be operated from Airbus’s Network Operations Centre (NOC) in Toulouse. Its 18 UHF channels will enable as many as 200 simultaneous communications over Europe, the Middle East, Africa, large parts of Asia, as well as the Atlantic Ocean (to eastern Brazil) and the Indian Ocean (to western Australia).
Military UHF SATCOMs are used by the armed forces for operations on land, at sea and in the air. They have a high level of interoperability and are, therefore, very useful for multi-national and coalition operations. The UHF band is very flexible and is of particular interest to Special Forces units, as it offers a lightweight, robust and highly secure means of communication. An extensive range of terminals for use on land, at sea and in the air is available to meet the needs of the various armed forces.
Airbus notes that this new payload will enhance the firm’s portfolio throughout the lifespan of the satellite. According to the company, Airbus is the only armed forces, private, SATCOM operator to cover the full spectrum of military (UHF, X-, Ka- Mil) and commercial (L-, C-/Ku-, Ka-) frequency bands and applications.
The EUTELSAT 36D satellite will be built by Airbus based on its Eurostar Neo platform. In addition to the UHF payload and will also be equipped with 70, Ku-band transponders for TV broadcasting.