WASHINGTON — Airbus Defense and Space won a $2.5 billion contract from the German military to deliver next-generation communications satellites, known as SATCOMBw 3, short for Bundeswehr’s satellite communications system.

The deal, announced July 4, includes the development and deployment of two geostationary satellites, along with ground segment upgrades, launch services, and operational support for 15 years. The spacecraft are slated for deployment before the end of the decade, replacing the aging SATCOMBw 2 system delivered by Airbus 15 years ago.

Airbus said SATCOMBw 3 represents a leap forward in military satellite technology, expected to offer increased bandwidth, improved security features and enhanced resilience against disruptions.

The new 6,000 kilogram satellites will be based on Airbus’s Eurostar Neo platform.

Michael Schoellhorn, CEO of Airbus Defense and Space, commented on the project’s significance: “At a time when Western democracies are challenged and where the European institutional space ecosystem is struggling, we are excited and grateful to develop and build this leading-edge system.”

Airbus has enlisted several German suppliers for the program, including OHB and other smaller German companies. Key components such as payload guidance and integration, solar arrays, and overall spacecraft operation will be sourced from Germany, Airbus said.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...