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Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio win Italian deal to develop SICRAL 3

Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33%), and Telespazio, the joint venture between Leonardo (67%) and Thales (33%), have signed a contract with the Italian Ministry of Defense, represented by TELEDIFE / Secretariat General of Defense, for the development of the SICRAL 3 secure satellite communications system, including its ground segment. Covering the development of phases B and C1, the contract is worth a total of approximately €159 million, as result of an articulated and complete negotiation process.

The SICRAL (Italian System for Secure Communications and Alerts) program deploys geostationary satellites for confidential strategic and tactical communications, to support defense missions both in Italy and abroad. The new SICRAL 3 system is designed to meet Italian defense communications and interoperability requirements. It will ensure continuity with the current SHF and UHF-band telecom services provided by the SICRAL 1A, 1B and SICRAL 2 satellites, while expanding its suite of services by providing a Ka-band payload, as well as supporting security, public rescue and civil protection services.

SICRAL 3 will also capitalize on the ongoing developments within the ItalGovSatCom (I-GSC) program, a pillar of the evolving “Space Economy” and the Programmes of Military Research, and will help expand NATO’s current satellite capabilities.

To develop the SICRAL 3 program, Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio, via their Space Alliance, have created a temporary consortium led by Thales Alenia Space, with Telespazio also playing a major role.

Thales Alenia Space will be responsible for the entire SICRAL 3 telecommunications system, the space segment (including system design and integration), and the design, production and integration of the innovative UHF, SHF and Ka-band payloads. The space segment includes two geostationary satellites, SICRAL 3A and SICRAL 3B. The innovative platform, which features electric propulsion, is based on a modular and autonomous orbital transfer design using GNSS/GPS sensors and receivers for satellite positioning and attitude. Leonardo will supply the star sensors that enable SICRAL 3 to maintain the correct attitude in orbit through sophisticated algorithms.

Telespazio will manage the development of the highly innovative ground segment, drawing on synergies with previous SICRAL developments for the Vigna di Valle Control Center and the Fucino Space Center. The company will be in charge of the satellites’ launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) and in-orbit tests (IOT).

Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio have already supplied to the Italian Ministry of Defense two first-generation SICRAL satellites (no longer in operation), and the second-generation SICRAL 2 satellite. Telespazio, having co-financed the SICRAL 1B and SICRAL 2 missions, has consolidated its role as a defense satellite operator. Holding a share of these satellites’ transmission capacity, it offers telecommunications services to the armed forces of NATO member countries. The Space Alliance also contributed to the development and launch of the Athena-Fidus satellite for military and dual (civil-military) telecommunications for France and Italy and two Satcom BW satellites for Germany. Thanks to Athena-Fidus and SICRAL 2, Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio form the cornerstone of European collaboration in defense. CT Bureau

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