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Airbus has signed contracts with the Ministries of Defence of the Czech Republic and the Netherlands to provide satellite communications for a 15-year period. The Armed Forces of the Czech Republic and The Netherlands will respectively utilise two and three channels of the Airbus Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) military communications payload hosted on-board the EUTELSAT 36D telecommunications satellite scheduled for launch in 2024.

The EUTELSAT 36D satellite will be built by Airbus, based on its Eurostar Neo platform. In addition to the UHF payload, it will also be equipped with 70 Ku-band transponders for TV broadcasting. The UHF payload will be operated from Airbus’s Network Operations Centre in Toulouse. Its 18 UHF channels will enable up to 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).

Airbus stated that with this new UHF payload, the company would be able to offer a new UHF communications service to the armed forces, particularly to those of European countries and NATO members. According to the company, the UHF frequency band is a relatively scarce orbital resource, and so this offering will somewhat make up for the capacity shortage around the world. Airbus said they’d already signed several firm orders for this capacity ahead of the satellite’s scheduled launch.