Yahsat Taps Astrium for Support Work

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PARIS — Paradigm Secure Communications of Britain, a unit of Europe’s Astrium Services, will provide operations and maintenance support and personnel training for the Yahsat military satellite telecommunications system of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under a five-year contract valued at several tens of millions of dollars, Astrium Services announced Feb. 22.

Under the contract, which Astrium said was signed in late 2010, Paradigm will develop a comprehensive training program for the Al Yah Satellite Communications Co, known as Yahsat, as it deploys its two-satellite system. The first satellite, Yahsat 1A, which has a mixed commercial and military payload, is scheduled for launch March 29 aboard a European Ariane 5 ECA rocket.

Astrium Satellites, a sister company of Astrium Services — both are owned by Europe’s EADS aerospace giant — and Thales Alenia Space of France and Italy are building the two Yahsat satellites under a $1.67 billion contract that includes the satellites’ launch.

The UAE Armed Forces is a principal Yahsat customer, and will be using the satellites’ Ka-band capacity. But the Yahsat 1A satellite also includes C- and Ku-band transponders intended for commercial use, with the latter to be marketed by YahLive, a satellite-television joint venture between SES of Luxembourg and Yahsat.

Paradigm provides beyond-line-of-sight communications services to the British Defence Ministry and the NATO alliance under long-term services contracts that include providing bandwidth from the Skynet 5 satellites owned by Paradigm.