The latest contract awarded by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) will see the agency continue to use SES’s high-performance satellite connectivity services for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems’ (RPAS) operations, SES and EMSA announced.
Under the new agreement, SES’s managed connectivity service will allow end-users to receive and exchange RPAS data in near real-time and support the operational needs of missions at sea.
SES has been a longstanding partner of EMSA in delivering integrated maritime services that support the EU’s objectives of creating a safe, secure, green and competitive maritime sector. The new multi-year contract follows a previously-awarded agreement that enabled multiple EMSA missions with the guaranteed high-performance connectivity service for pollution monitoring, maritime safety and general maritime surveillance.
Under the new framework agreement, SES will leverage its extensive government SATCOM Ku-, Ka- and military Ka-band capacity and ground segment to continue delivering connectivity services for EMSA’s RPAS missions across multiple coastal regions of the European Union. The service will be enabling Long Endurance Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems for medium and long-range operations. In addition, the MILSATCOM-grade service will bring connectivity to the ships, enabling data-intensive applications such as distribution of audiovisual RPAS mission data, secure access to the network and connection to the headquarters on land to ensure timely decision-making.
The connectivity solution provided to EMSA is based on the REACH platform, a new capability developed by SES specifically for European governmental and institutional users requiring fast, flexible, reliable and secure connectivity. The platform allows for MILSATCOM-level service for safety, security and emergency response applications.
The new agreement with EMSA will allow the European Union member states to access SES’s extensive Ku- and Ka-bands on seven SES satellites, as well as the GovSat-1 satellite’s government military-Ka band and GovSat’s secure missions operations center in Europe. SES is the only company that operates a total of 70 satellites, including more than 50 geostationary as well as 20 non-geostationary Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites providing carrier-grade SATCOM connectivity globally.
“With the rise in number of sensors used in the RPAS missions and the subsequent additional data information flow, we require GovSatCom-level capabilities that can quickly and flexibly respond to our growing performance, security and coverage needs to support our users. We are very pleased to continue working with SES to ensure maritime safety of the European Union,” said Maja Markovčić Kostelac, Executive Director of EMSA.
“As the European Union is increasingly adopting RPAS for the maritime missions, it is our priority to deliver the fully-managed high-performance GovSatCom-grade service leveraging SES’s space and ground infrastructure, and global multi-band, multi-frequency coverage. This enables the end user with the information and tools they need to carry out safe and successful missions, including remote monitoring and real-time situational awareness,” said Philippe Glaesener, Senior Vice President for Defence, Security and Institutions at SES. “And we do not stop here. SES continues putting in place innovative multi-orbit solutions, further expanding government services to meet the growing demand.”
On completion of the transaction, which is subject to completion of regulatory approvals expected to be completed during H2 2022, the GES business will be combined with SES Government Solutions (SES GS), a wholly owned subsidiary of SES, creating a scaled solutions provider serving the critical connectivity needs of the US Government.
“This investment reinforces our commitment to provide industry-leading solutions and services for government customers while delivering sustained growth for SES in a high-value segment in which we have a track record of partnership and success,” said Steve Collar, CEO of SES. “I have long admired GES and its culture of long-standing relationships built on the delivery of high-performance, reliable, and mission critical connectivity solutions across the US Government. They are a best-in-class solutions provider and the combination with our own SES Government Solutions business will allow SES to serve the US Government with an expanded and enhanced set of advanced connectivity and network solutions leveraging the world’s largest multi-orbit satellite fleet.”
For more than 20 years, DRS Global Enterprise Solutions has supported custom end-to-end satellite communications solutions for land, sea, and air operations for the US Government. The business is a leading government services provider with over $250 million of projected annual revenue, long-standing relationships with many key agencies, and expertise in delivering integrated satellite-terrestrial solutions notably in enterprise IT management and cyber security.
SES plans to combine GES with SES GS, taking advantage of their shared cultures and deep commitment to providing secure, global solutions to unite the state-of-the-art multi-orbit satellite networking capabilities of SES GS with GES’s experience in satellite communications integration. US Government customers will also benefit from technical and commercial simplification, while ensuring continuity of high-performance satellite-enabled solutions.
GES’s deep understanding of US Government customer needs across a broad suite of applications will further expand market access for O3b mPOWER, SES’s next-generation Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) network, which will begin delivering a compelling combination of low latency, high throughput per terminal, and high flexibility for a range of requirements from end-2022. SES has also developed intelligent capabilities that enable clients’ networks to operate seamlessly across multiple orbits and terrestrial solutions where the combined SES GS and GES business can leverage a proven expertise in integrating SES’s unique MEO offering with its own global GEO fleet and access to third-party satellites.
This investment accelerates SES’s strategy of growing Networks revenue by providing greater access to, and expertise in, important and high-value segments such as Government where SES has grown revenue by around 30% since 2017. SES’s revenue from serving the US Government would double in the size with the combination of GES and SES GS.
The consolidation of GES with SES GS is expected to add about $40 million of EBITDA and will benefit from the combination of future business expansion and $25 million of annualized run-rate synergies, including opportunities to support and enhance existing networks and services with the SES multi-orbit network.
The acquisition is expected to be earnings and free cash flow per share accretive from Day 1 and funded from existing financial resources. SES remains committed to maintaining a strong balance sheet consistent with investment grade ratios.