Thales Alenia Space has signed a 159 Million euro contract with the Italian Ministry of Defense for the development of the SICRAL 3 secure satellite communications system, including its ground segment.
The SICRAL (Italian System for Secure Communications and Alerts) program deploys geostationary satellites for confidential strategic and tactical communications, to support defense missions both in Italy and abroad. The space segment includes two geostationary satellites, SICRAL 3A and SICRAL 3B, A Thales Alenia release said.
The new SICRAL 3 system is designed to meet Italian defense communications and interoperability requirements. It will ensure continuity with the current SHF and UHF-band telecom services provided by the SICRAL 1A, 1B and SICRAL 2 satellites, while expanding its suite of services by providing a Ka-band payload, as well as supporting security, public rescue and civil protection services.
SICRAL 3 will also capitalize on the ongoing developments within the ItalGovSatCom (I-GSC) program, a pillar of the evolving “Space Economy” and the Programmes of Military Research, and will help expand NATO’s current satellite capabilities.
To develop the SICRAL 3 program, Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio, via their Space Alliance, have created a temporary consortium led by Thales Alenia Space, with Telespazio also playing a major role. Telespazio will manage the development of the highly innovative ground segment. The company will be in charge of the satellites’ launch and early orbit phase (LEOP) and in-orbit tests (IOT).
The innovative platform, which features electric propulsion, is based on a modular and autonomous orbital transfer design using GNSS/GPS sensors and receivers for satellite positioning and attitude. Leonardo will supply the star sensors that enable SICRAL 3 to maintain the correct attitude in orbit through sophisticated algorithms.