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28 Oct 02 The Ministries of Defence of France, Italy and the United Kingdom have jointly submitted an initial proposal to the NATO Consultation, Commnad and Control Agency (NC3A) to meet the NATO SATCOM Post-2000 capability requirement for Super High Frequency (SHF) and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) space segment. Alcatel Space, Alenia Spazio and Paradigm Secure Communications, as the national military satellite communication (Milsatcom) providers of these countries, have prepared major inputs to their governments in the submission of this innovative proposal.

The Pentagon put in a bid for Extremely High Frequency (EHF) MILSATCOM services worth US$500m last October based on the Lockheed Martin-TRW adbvanced EHF system. In early October, the Pentagon submitted a US$500m bid for SHF services based on the Lockheed MartinDefense Systems Communications SatelliteIII (DCS III) and the Boeing Wideband gapfiller Satellite (WGS) systems.

As the current NATO IV satellites approach the end of their lives, having already exceeded expectations, NATO is now calling for a next generation solution to fulfil its ever-increasing milsatcom requirements. To ensure coherence with the changing NATO crisis management role and to provide a fully deployable communications capability in support of such operations, the SATCOM Post-2000 requirement will update both the space and ground segments to form the future NATO system.

NATO’s current procurement process entails the issue of separate Invitations for Bid (IFB) for the UHF, SHF and EHF space segment requirements. Draft SHF and UHF IFBs were released to participating nations for ‘bidders’ comment’ in January 2002, followed by final IFBs in July of this year. The European governments’ (with Alcatel Space, Alenia Spazio and Paradigm) IFB response has just been submitted. This will now be followed by reviews and discussions with the NATO C3 Agency and final bids are due in Spring 2003. In light of NATO requiring full on-orbit capacity by end 2004, a decision is expected in Summer 2003.

The 3 Nations’ procurement agencies: DGA for France, Teledife for Italy, DPA for the UK and industries have agreed to work together to offer NATO the optimum SHF and UHF milsatcom solution. The three companies, Alcatel Space, Alenia Spazio and Paradigm Secure Communications are key players in the European satellite industry and have been working closely together for a number of months. The project has further backing and support from each of these companies’ respective shareholders: Alcatel, BAE SYSTEMS, EADS and Finmeccanica. The essence of this European solution is provision of SHF and UHF capacity from the present and future satellite systems of these nations.

Having reviewed these proposals, NC3A will call for final bids to be submitted by Spring ’03 with selection of the winning bids scheduled for Summer ’03 with the services operational by end-’04.

Alcatel Space, Alenia Spazio and Paradigm are already in the process of providing next generation national milsatcom solutions, their offering is ideally placed to meet the NATO timescale requirements and all parties look forward to having the opportunity of working together on this exciting new programme

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