Astrium helps enable the maiden flight of the SIDM UAV in a foreign theatre of operations by supplying new satellite bandwidth in Afghanistan

  • Astrium Services provides the French Defence Staff with new civil bandwidth in Afghanistan
  • Astrium Services secures the reconfiguration of a satellite for French military needs

On 17 February 2009, the French Air Force’s SIDM (the French acronym for medium altitude long endurance (MALE) drone) surveillance UAV performed its maiden flight in a foreign theatre of operations.

19  February  2009

The SIDM, which provides information to safeguard the French armed forces within a radius of several hundred kilometres, requires two civil Ku-band satellite links: a low data rate link for it to be remotely controlled from a ground station, and a high data rate link for it to send in real time the data collected (video, photos) during the flight.

But the extremely high demand for satellite communications capabilities from numerous defence ministries and the international media has exhausted capacity in Afghanistan.

By analysing its portfolio of contracts with major international operators, Astrium Services was able to identify the only compatible satellite solution accessible in this region. Astrium then arranged with an operator for one of its satellites to be repositioned to meet the specific needs of the SIDM.

For Eric Béranger, CEO of Astrium Services, “The SIDM’s maiden flight in a foreign theatre of operations proved to be a huge success for Astrium Services and its subsidiary, London Satellite Exchange, given the difficulty in identifying and quickly implementing a compatible satellite solution that is available in this region where this bandwidth is saturated.”

As part of the deployment of the SIDM in Afghanistan, Astrium Services is supplying:

  • The civil Ku-band satellite telecommunications capabilities
  • The satellite link engineering
  • A dedicated 24-hour hotline for its defence customers