Cobham SATCOM to build Thuraya 4-NGS ground system

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TAMPA, Fla. — Emirati fleet operator Yahsat has picked private equity-owned Cobham SATCOM to build the ground system for its next-generation Thuraya 4-NGS satellite.

Airbus Defence and Space is building the satellite for Yahsat’s Thuraya mobile voice and data connectivity subsidiary, with a launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 slated for the second half of 2023

Denmark-based Cobham SATCOM will develop Thuraya 4-NGS ground infrastructure and terminals for its narrowband mobility services.

Yahsat said Sept. 9 that Cobham SATCOM will also integrate end-to-end solutions to expand Thuraya’s military, government and enterprise customer bases across land, maritime and aeronautical verticals.

Cobham SATCOM is owned by U.S.-based private equity firm Advent International, which acquired its parent group Cobham for about $5 billion last year.

The Danish group also provides satellite communications equipment to U.K-based Inmarsat and Iridium of the U.S., Thuraya’s main competitors in the L-band mobile satellite services (MSS) market.

“Today is monumental for Cobham SATCOM,” Cobham SATCOM CEO Leif Ottosson said in a statement. “It marks a new and innovative partnership with Yahsat, reinforces our position as a leading MSS infrastructure and terminal provider and will be critical to evolving satellite communications.”

Yahsat pointed to data from Applied Market Research analysts in its announcement, which said the value of the global satellite data services market is on course to grow from $5 billion to more than $19 billion by 2027.

Publicly listed Yahsat recently said it expects Thuraya 4-NGS to generate $47 million a year in revenue over its 15-year design life, after coming into service in 2024.

Thuraya 4-NGS will replace two Boeing-built L-band voice and data satellites that continue to be in service despite exceeding their design life.

Sister company expansion

Space-compatible electronics supplier CAES, which was also part of Advent’s acquisition but was made a stand-alone U.S. company amid a push into the government market, has unveiled more expansion plans.

Arlington, Virginia-based CAES said it will add a dedicated 1700 square foot laboratory to its Exeter, New Hampshire, facility next year to 3D-print waveguides and antenna designs licensed from Swissto12, the Switzerland-based additive manufacturing specialist.

In addition to satellites, the company said these 3D-printed waveguides can be used on the ground for electronic warfare applications. 

CAES said it has received interest from national security customers for its 3D-printed offerings.

Commercial megaconstellations are also a target market for the 3D-printed wave form guides and antennas. CAES is supplying technology for OneWeb’s megaconstellation, although this does not yet include the licensed Swissto12 designs. 

CAES and Swissto12 forged an alliance in April to bring Switzerland’s 3D-printed satellite RF technology to the U.S. market.

“CAES’ investment in Additive Manufacturing is a direct response to our customers’ next-generation design challenges for rugged, ever-smaller, and complex parts,” CAES chief technology officer David Young said in a statement.