The SYRACUSE IV programme, led by the French Armament General Directorate (DGA), to modernise and increase military satellite communication capabilities (SatCom), has entered a deployment phase in the naval domain. Thales supplies all the satellite communication ground stations for the French Navy. Among the first rank ships, the multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Lorraine is a pioneer and has recently been delivered by the DGA.
The elongation constraints between the theatre of operations and the command centres of maritime operations make satellite communications essential. Thus, the naval environment is the first to be concerned by the renovation of satellite communication stations under the SYRACUSE IV programme.
SYRACUSE IV will provide the French armed forces with greater secure and protected satellite communications, whatever the threats (interference, jamming, cyber-attacks, etc.), at high speed, thanks to the dual-band X and Ka capability, in all theatres of operations. It guarantees end-to-end connectivity while ensuring the interoperability of the three environments.
SYRACUSE IV, which ensures the complete renewal of satellites and ground stations, will gradually replace the assets deployed under SYRACUSE III.
The ground/naval stations enable the transmission and reception of satellite communications. As an expert in satellite communications systems in France and abroad, Thales is a major actor in the SYRACUSE IV programme and supplies both the space segment and the ground segment. The renovation of all naval SatCom stations, to benefit from the addition of dual-band X/Ka capacity, began in 2018. The Ka-band capacity was validated in September 2022 on the ATHENA-FIDUS satellite for a ground station of a Frégate La Fayette type, demonstrating the feasibility and reliability of the proposed solution.
The multi-mission frigate (FREMM) Lorraine, a pioneer among first rank ships, left the shipyard in November 2022 equipped with SYRACUSE IV SatCom station.
SYRACUSE is a French protected telecommunications satellite programme that provides 24-hour military communications between France and units deployed in theatres of operation. This programme allows to meet, in full autonomy, the different needs of long-distance telecommunications, secure and resistant to the threat of electronic warfare. Three generations of SYRACUSE satellites were deployed between 1984 and 2015. SYRACUSE IV aims to renew the SYRACUSE IIIA and IIIB satellites, while modernising and completing the ground stations.
The ground segment has been entrusted to Thales through two main contracts, notified respectively in June 2019 and December 2020. These contracts allow for the design, production and deployment of the system versions of SYRACUSE IV, as well as the production and deployment of new ground stations, which will equip platforms for all environments: naval, for submarines and surface ships (such as the La Fayette-FLF type frigates, FREMMs, the Charles de Gaule aircraft carrier); land (parcel stations, theatre hubs), and air, in particular for the MRTT transport and refuelling aircraft.