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Astrium to provide airborne satellite communications for the Canadian Department of National Defence


Astrium to deliver the latest generation of airborne terminal - AirPatrol • Secure high bandwidth communications to support Canadian northern sovereignty and coastal surveillance

Portsmouth, – Astrium Services has been awarded a contract by the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) to deliver the AirPatrol airborne satcom terminal to support Canada’s Radar and Imaging for the Land/Littoral Environment (RIFL2E) Technology Demonstration Project (TDP).

The terminal, which will be delivered and supported by Astrium Services’ Secure Satcom Systems, will enable DND to evaluate the technical feasibility and operational capability of an airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The RIFL2E project is designed to enhance coastal surveillance and support Canadian northern sovereignty.

Aidan Joy, Managing Director of Astrium Services’ Secure Satcom Systems, said:

“We are confident that AirPatrol will form an integral part of Canada’s RIFL2E project. AirPatrol ensures that it is possible to stream live images from airborne reconnaissance missions directly to ground based receivers and remote users.

“We relish the opportunity to actively partner with the DND and provide the satcom capability to enable the seamless transmission of secure data.”

AirPatrol has been developed in response to the growing demand from military and other customers who are increasingly reliant on the secure transmission of video, multispectral and radar imagery, particularly from UAVs.

The light-weight design of the terminal, made possible with the use of composite materials, means that AirPatrol can be much more easily integrated onto a variety of aircraft than its heavier alloy alternatives, ensuring that the terminal has a minimum impact on the aircraft’s overall flight performance.

AirPatrol benefits from an advanced stabilisation system that is designed to handle complex airborne manoeuvres, so that the antenna always remains accurately pointed to maintain a secure communication link at all times.

The terminal also incorporates carbon composite materials into the antenna design. The use of carbon composites permit a higher level of radio frequency (RF) path integration, resulting in improved performance when compared with standard aluminium antennas; exceptional 20Mbps data rates have been demonstrated at X-band, using the standard 60cm dish, in some cases providing at least three times the capacity of a standard antenna.

About Astrium

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Astrium had a turnover of €4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and Astrium Services for comprehensive end-to-end value-added solutions covering secure and commercial satcoms and networks, high security satellite communications equipment, bespoke geo-information and navigation services worldwide.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, the Group – comprising Airbus, Astrium, Cassidian and Eurocopter – generated revenues of € 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119,000.


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