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Alcatel Wins Italian Military Communications Satellite Deal

File image of a SICRAL class satellite.
by Staff Writers
Paris, France (SPX) Jan 24, 2007
Alcatel Alenia Space announced that it has signed a Euro 103 million contract with the Italian Ministry of Defense to provide the telecommunication satellite SICRAL-1B. The satellite, dedicated to the Italian Armed Forces, will ensure strategic and tactical communications on the Italian and foreign territories as well as mobile communications between terrestrial, naval and air platforms.

It will also provide UHF and SHF band satellite capacities to NATO forces, further to a Memorandum of Understanding which was signed in 2004 between the Ministries of Defense of Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and the Atlantic Alliance.

This contract, signed end of 2006, is financed by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, in the scope of the industry competitiveness and high technology initiatives currently undertaken by the Ministry.

As prime contractor, Alcatel Alenia Space will manufacture and deliver the satellite as well as several ground segment's subsystems, amongst which the Telecommunications Control Centre in Vigna di Valle (Italy).

This announcement follows previous contracts signed with the Italian Ministry of Defense, including one worth 72 million euro signed in 2003, for non-recurring costs related to SICRAL-1B satellite and ground segment. A further contract for the completion of SICRAL-1B ground segment and satellite launch is forecast in the near future.

SICRAL-1B structure manufacturing and satellite integration is taking place in Alcatel Alenia Space's facility in Turin (Italy), whilst the environmental tests will be carried out in its facility in Cannes (France). The payload, which is manufacturing in Rome (Italy), is composed of 3 UHF band, 5 SHF band and 1 EHF/Ka band transmitters.

Carlo Alberto Penazzi, CEO of Alcatel Alenia Space in Italy, commented: "The SICRAL system is particularly strategic for the Italian Defense Administration as it has already demonstrated its efficiency in past military operations. SICRAL-1B satellite, which represents a further technological development for the Italian industry, consolidates Alcatel Alenia Space's leading role in SICRAL system development and in the delivery of end-to-end military telecommunications systems. "

SICRAL-1B, which is set for launch end of 2007, will supplement SICRAL-1 in operation since 2001. It will increase the availability and the complete reliability of the SICRAL system and will satisfy the operational requirements that the Italian Armed Forces are facing, mainly coming from "foreign areas". SICRAL-1B will be operational until 2019 and will be followed by SICRAL-2, which should be operational from 2011 until 2026.

The SICRAL system has been chosen by NATO, together with the French program Syracuse - also under the prime contractorship of Alcatel Alenia Space - and its British counterpart, to develop a network of protected telecommunications available to allied countries (the NATO SatCom program post-2000_NSP2K).

In this position, the SICRAL system, which today already guarantees efficient operation with the other systems, will be enhanced, thanks to the development of the SICRAL-1B satellite that will extend the potential of the system within NATO programs until 2019, contributing to increase the total capacity available to the Italian Armed Forces and its allies.

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