NATO Inks Agreements for Commercial Satcom Capacity

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FARNBOROUGH, England — NATO is stepping up its purchase of commercial Ka- and Ku-band satellite capacity under two separate agreements with Avanti Communications of London and SES of Luxembourg, the two operators announced.

Avanti will be providing Ka-band capacity under a Basic Ordering Agreement signed with the NATO Communications and Information Agency. The agreement sets pricing terms under which NATO and the alliance’s member nations may order satellite bandwidth from Avanti.

Avanti’s Hylas 1 satellite is in orbit, and Hylas 2 is scheduled for launch in the coming weeks aboard a European Ariane 5 rocket. The satellites provide Ka-band capacity over Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Africa.

NATO will be making use of Ku-band capacity provided by SES under an agreement between SES and Northrop Grumman as part of the 28-nations Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) system, SES announced July 13.

NATO awarded the $1.7 billion AGS contract in May to a consortium led by Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems of Redondo Beach, Calif., and including SES. Thirteen NATO nations are participating in AGS, including the United States and Luxembourg. France and Britain are not currently among the AGS participating nations but have said they expect eventually to be making in-kind contributions in the form of French Heron unmanned aerial vehicles and British Sentinel jets.

For now, AGS’s components include five Northrop-built Global Hawk high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft fitted with a radar observation system capable of detecting stationary objects and of tracking moving objects. The vehicles operate at an altitude of up to 18,000 meters, travel at up to 575 kilometers per hour and have a range of slightly more than 16,000 kilometers.

SES said it will be providing Ku-band capacity over the United States and Europe as part of AGS, which is expected to be fully operational in 2017.

AGS is designed to provide a range of services to all NATO member nations including disaster relief, border control, and monitoring fishing and energy-production sites.

 

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