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9 novembre 2015 1 09 /11 /novembre /2015 12:50
VAT Exemption: New Incentive for Defence Cooperation


Brussels - 04 November, 2015 European Defence Agency


Member States can as of now profit from VAT exemption for projects run by the European Defence Agency (EDA). The recently adopted revised Council Decision defining the statute, seat and operational rules of the EDA includes the clause that cooperative defence projects and programmes are exempt from VAT as long as the Agency adds value to the initiative. 


The VAT exemption is a strong incentive to European defence cooperation: it generates an attractive business case for cooperative projects and programmes in the framework of the EDA. We will soon propose roadmaps for potential future cooperative programmes for which Member States will be able to benefit from the VAT exemption and thus achieve considerable savings”, comments Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency.

With the entering into force of the revised Council Decision on 13 October, the new provision can be applied immediately for any new EDA initiative meeting the Decision’s conditions. VAT exemption is not linked to the nature of the activity. It can thus be applied to any project and programme where the Agency adds value ranging from technical expertise, pooling demand, building a multinational capability or synergies with EU wider policies, promoting interoperability to full administrative and contractual management of a cooperative initiative. Member States are and remain the end-users of the capability. 


Concrete savings

While the VAT exemption should not be the driver for defence cooperation, tight defence budgets limit investment in research, innovation and capabilities. Any breathing space is appreciated. By incentivising defence cooperation financially, we will be able to do more and better together”, says Jorge Domecq.

One of the projects the VAT exemption will be immediately applied to is the EU SatCom Market, an EDA project where the Agency provides for satellite communication services for currently eleven Member States and the Athena mechanism. The EDA is responsible for procurement and contract tasks, manages orders as well as payments and provides technical advice as needed and thus adds clear technical and administrative value to the project. As a consequence, each order – which comes from Member States individually or by groups – benefits from VAT exemption. 

One Member State has for example recently submitted an order of about 1.3 million Euros for one year of services. Due to the VAT exemption, this Member State will not have to pay VAT for a corresponding value of 273 thousand Euros which represents about three months of free services.


Legal basis

The Council Decision defining the statute, seat and operational rules of the EDA (Council Decision (CFSP) 2015/1835) was adopted by the Foreign Affairs Council on 12 October 2015. It foresees that VAT exemption applies to activities where the role of the Agency in administering projects or programmes in support of Member States brings an added value. 

The legal basis for VAT exemption are Protocol No 7 of the EU Treaties on the privileges and immunities of the European Union and Council Directive 2006/112/EC of 28 November 2006 on the common system of value added tax.

The VAT exemption is compliant with EU law; and is not market distorting.



The European Defence Agency was set-up in 2004 to support the Council and the Member States in their effort to improve the European Union’s defence capabilities for the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This means running and supporting cooperative European defence projects; supporting research and technology development; boosting the European defence technological and industrial base; and working on wider EU policies.


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14 octobre 2015 3 14 /10 /octobre /2015 06:45
EDA provides satellite communications services for EUTM Somalia

Mogadishu - 13 October, 2015 European Defence Agency

As of 1 October, the European Defence Agency (EDA) has taken over the provision of Satellite Communications (SatCom) services for the EU Training Mission (EUTM) in Somalia.


EUTM Somalia is the first CSDP military mission to draw on the option of the Agency to cover its requirement for SatCom services. Earlier this year, Athena - the mechanism established to finance CSDP military operations - joined the Agency’s EU SatCom Market as part of its efforts to improve the procurement process of the different operations. 

Through the Agency, the mission benefits from a strategic link between Somalia and Europe. The services include rental, shipping and installation of a C-band remote terminal in Mogadishu International Airport as well as a high data rate unclassified satellite link with anchoring in Europe. The services include also 24/7 technical support and on site-intervention if required.

In the coming months, the Agency will also take over the provision of Mobile Satellite Services for the operations EUNAVFOR Atalanta, EUTM Mali and EUTM Somalia as well as ATHENA Central.

Speaking about the cooperation, Brigadier General Antonio Maggi, EUTM Somalia Operation Commander said: “Thanks to the excellent cooperation between the EUTM J6 team, EDA and the contractor, EUTM Somalia will benefit from a reliable and secure connection with Europe for its Command and Control chain.”

EDA’s Chief Executive, Jorge Domecq added: “Supporting CSDP operations is one of the core missions of the EDA. I am confident this first example will pave the way for other CSDP military operations to make extensive use of all the support the Agency can provide.”

EUTM Somalia

On 10 April 2010, the European Union launched a military training mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) in order to contribute to strengthening the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and the institutions of Somalia. This support is part of the EU's comprehensive engagement in Somalia, which aims to support stabilising the country and to respond to the needs of the Somali people.

Since 2010, EUTM Somalia has contributed to the training of approximately 3,600 Somali soldiers with a focus on the training of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), Junior Officers, specialists and trainers. 

EU SatCom Market

Within the EU SatCom Market project, EDA acts as the central purchasing body on behalf of the contributing members. It purchases the services from a commercial provider. The project uses a ‘pay-per-use’ model, so members do not have to contribute with regular fees, instead they only pay for what they order. Since May 2013, 24 orders have been passed for a total value of around €4 million. Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, Romania, the United Kingdom and the Athena Mechanism are members of the project. Further participation is open to all EDA participating Member States as well as all entities entitled to take part in Agency activities.

The Athena Mechanism

Athena is the mechanism established to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications governed by Council Decision 2015/528/CFSP. The Council Decision allows for arrangements to be signed with union bodies to facilitate procurement in operations in the most cost-effective manner.


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8 octobre 2015 4 08 /10 /octobre /2015 07:20
Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile photo USS Gridley / US Navy

Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile photo USS Gridley / US Navy




The U.S. Navy's networked Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile has demonstrated new capabilities in a special test conducted with missile-maker Raytheon. In the test, a missile was launched from the destroyer USS Gridley carrying a camera, and captured battle damage indication imagery and then transmitted the image to fleet headquarters with a two-way UHF SATCOM datalink. The missile then engaged in a loiter pattern to await further instructions. Strike controllers at the U.S. Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain retargeted the missile to a new aim point on a Navy range off the coast of California, which it successfully struck.


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15 septembre 2015 2 15 /09 /septembre /2015 21:55
photo Armée de l'Air

photo Armée de l'Air


15/09/2015 Sources : Centre d'expertise aériennre militaire


Le 15 septembre 2015, deux Rafale de Mont-de-Marsan ont décollé équipés de SATCOM.


Le monoplace et le biplace de l’escadron de chasse et d’expérimentations (ECE) 5/330 « Côte d’Argent », faisant partie de la patrouille, ont pu être suivis de bout en bout, ainsi que le C135 ravitailleur.


Le convoyage de 3h30 vers Lajes a pu être observé dans son intégralité au centre d’expertise aérienne militaire (CEAM) depuis la base aérienne 118 de Mont-de-Marsan. De nombreuses communications, tant opérationnelles qu’expérimentales, ont eu lieu par chat.


Cet événement est le fruit de plusieurs mois de travail intense entre le CEAM, le constructeur Dassault Aviation et les services de la direction générale de l’armement (DGA). Il ouvre des perspectives de connexion sans précédent au Rafale, qui est désormais présent sur tout le spectre des liaisons de données.


Le 1er septembre 2015, le CEAM est officiellement devenu le centre d’expertise aérienne militaire (anciennement appelé centre d’expériences aériennes militaires). Cette nouvelle appellation s’inscrit dans la volonté de l’armée de l’air de développer un centre de guerre aérienne (Air Warfare Center) et de concentrer ses experts autour des trois piliers constitutifs d’une capacité opérationnelle de première ligne : la doctrine, les équipements et l’expertise tactique du combattant.

photo Armée de l'Air

photo Armée de l'Air

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1 juillet 2015 3 01 /07 /juillet /2015 11:50
photo EDA

photo EDA


Brussels - 26 June, 2015 European Defence Agency


The European Defence Agency has just launched a €1 million, 18-month feasibility study to prepare a future cooperative governmental satellite communications (Govsatcom) programme.

The study will be delivered by a consortium led by Euroconsult with Airbus Defence & Space, CGI, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Hisdesat and SpaceTec Partners working as subcontractors. This work is expected to be complemented by other studies funded by the European Space Agency (ESA). Some synergies are also expected with the work currently performed by the European Commission.

“This study will help us to find new ways to cooperate in a complex institutional setting”, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq stated upon signing the study contract. “Considering that Govsatcom capabilities are inherently dual-use, one of the main objectives will be to identify an efficient, innovative and sustainable cooperation model in particular by implementing synergies with the Commission. This will certainly be reflected by a genuine governance of the system”, he added. 

“Government satellite communications are evolving, due to changes in operational requirements and to the availability of innovative and cost effective solutions serving these,” stated Euroconsult CEO Pacome Revillon. ”The international consortium combines expertise across the full satellite communications value chain, while the project governance will guarantee the independence and neutrality of the results. All partners are fully committed to delivering a study that lays the groundwork for future European capability,” he added. 

Govsatcom was identified in December 2013 by EU Heads of State and Government as one of four priorities for capability development, along with air-to-air refuelling, remotely piloted aircraft systems and cyber defence. 

Under the lead of Spain, a common staff target harmonising the needs of military users was adopted by all EDA Member States in 2014. Based on this commonly-agreed document, a preparation phase started ahead of the launch of a full-scale cooperative project. By the end of 2016, a business case including more detailed technical requirements as well as a through-life management plan should allow Member States to assess various options in terms of cooperation models and system architectures. These findings will be to a large extent supported by the outcome of the feasibility study.


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25 juin 2015 4 25 /06 /juin /2015 11:50
Athena Mechanism joins EU SatCom Market

Brussels - 18 June, 2015 European Defence Agency

Athena Administrator Hans-Werner Grenzhäuser today signed the declaration to join the EU SatCom Market, an ad hoc project of the European Defence Agency.


Speaking about the cooperation, Hans-Werner Grenzhäuser said: “As part of the ongoing efforts to improve the procurement process of the different operations, I am convinced that Athena will benefit from its participation in this already existing mechanism with several other EU Member States being able to pool the purchase of satellite communications and related services through the European Defence Agency.
EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq added: “With Athena now part of the EU SatCom Market project, CSDP military operations will benefit from an easier procurement process thanks to the framework already in place, instead of using ad hoc outsourcing. The foreseen additional use of this pooled procurement initiative will increase the pooling and sharing effect, while making the project more attractive to the service providers.


EU SatCom Market

Within the EU SatCom Market project, EDA acts as the central purchasing body on behalf of the contributing members. It purchases the services from a commercial provider. Airbus Defence & Space holds the current contract. Since May 2013, more than 20 orders have been placed for a total value of almost €4 million. So far, Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and the United Kingdom are part of the EU SatCom Market.
The project uses a ‘pay-per-use’ model, so members do not have to contribute with a regular fee, instead they only pay for what they order. Under the arrangement with Athena all present and future EU-led military operations will be able to draw this option to cover their SatCom requirements.

The Athena Mechanism

Athena is the mechanism established to administer the financing of the common costs of European Union operations having military or defence implications governed by Council Decision 2015/528/CFSP. The Council Decision allows for arrangements to be signed with union bodies to facilitate procurement in operations in the most cost-effective manner.


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17 juin 2015 3 17 /06 /juin /2015 11:50
Military Satellite Communication : a sovereign and indispensable system


16 juin 2015 by Thales


Thales connects all the armed forces to maximize efficiency and operational superiority.
We provide the autonomy to decide, configure and control, covering all the theatres of operation.

Milsatcom / Flexible and resilient: the indispensable tool of the armed forces.


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2 juin 2015 2 02 /06 /juin /2015 16:20
photo GATR

photo GATR


May 21, 2015: Strategy Page


U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has sponsored work on lighter and more powerful portable satellite dishes for decades. What SOCOM operators need the most are back packable gear that can send video, especially during a stakeout (a common activity for Special Forces operators) of a target for missile armed warplanes or UAVs overhead. The latest breakthrough is GATR, a 26.3 kg (58 pound) 1.2 meter (47 inch) satellite dish in an inflatable sphere. This gear can upload 2 mbps (one million bits per second, about 100,000 bytes per second) and download 5 mbps. This is the lightest back packable dish with that kind of bandwidth. SOCOM has bought nearly a hundred of these so far. Most of the time SOCOM operators can get by with lighter satellite communications, with much lower bandwidth.


For example in 2012 SOCOM bought $170 million of new satellite communications gear with a max download speed of 1 mbps. What was most important about this gear was that it was portable (via hummer or backpack) and provided Special Forces operators with high speed satellite communications using 60 cm (24 inch) satellite dishes. Special Forces operators need these communications tool for when they are out in the hills, out beyond cell phones and most wireless forms of communication. Satellite phones have been used for over a decade but these devices have limited data capacity (about 25,000 bits per second).


Typical portable systems like this weigh less than 15 kg (33 pounds) and can be carried in two suitcases or in a backpack. This gear can operate off battery power and are rugged enough to survive water, sand, extreme temperatures, and other hard knocks. These systems allow a Special Forces team to access multiple live video feeds, as well as downloading complex maps and other images. All this is heavily encrypted to make eavesdropping very difficult. Set up time is less than ten minutes and the small dish will automatically locate and lock onto the desired satellite. This equipment has been available for over two decades but they have become smaller, cheaper, faster, more rugged, and reliable every year. Most importantly, they do not require a communications specialist to set up or operate. SOCOM has several thousand of these portable systems.

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1 juin 2015 1 01 /06 /juin /2015 16:25
Lancement réussi du satellite franco-italien Sicral2


28/05/2015  Economie et technologie


Jean-Yves Le Drian, ministre de la Défense, se félicite du succès du lancement dimanche 26 avril 2015 du satellite franco-italien de télécommunications militaires Sicral 2 (Sistema Italiano per Comunicazioni Riservate ed Allarmi). Sicral 2 a été mis en orbite depuis Kourou par une fusée Ariane 5 à 22h00, heure de Paris.


Jean-Yves Le Drian a déclaré : « Cette réussite consolide la coopération franco-italienne dans le domaine spatial et contribue à renforcer les capacités opérationnelles européennes. Elle est le fruit de l’excellent niveau technologique de l’industrie spatiale européenne. »


Sicral 2 est cofinancé par la France et l’Italie. Le montant de la part française de cet investissement est de 120 M€. Dans le cadre de cette coopération, la direction générale de l’armement (DGA) est l’interlocuteur français du ministère de la Défense italien qui assure la maîtrise d’ouvrage du programme. Thales Alenia Space a développé Sicral 2 en cotraitance avec Telespazio. L’assemblage du satellite a été effectué par Thales Alenia Space sur son site de Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes). Ce projet a mobilisé 170 emplois à forte valeur ajoutée à Cannes et à Toulouse.


Sicral 2 vient compléter les capacités nationales actuelles, constituées des deux satellites militaires Syracuse IIIA et IIIB, lancés en 2005 et 2006, ainsi que le satellite franco-italien de communications civilo-militaire Athena-Fidus lancé en 2014. Cette constellation permet de répondre, en toute autonomie, aux différents besoins des forces armées pour des télécommunications à longues distances, sécurisées et résistantes à la menace de guerre électronique. La relève de ces capacités en France sera assurée au début de la prochaine décennie par le programme Comsat NG qui sera lancé pendant l’actuelle loi de programmation militaire 2014-2019.


Sicral 2, plateforme dont la durée de vie est prévue pour 15 ans, embarque trois charges de télécommunications séparées : deux pour l’Italie et une pour la France. La charge française utilise la bande de fréquences SHF, permettant l’emploi des stations au sol fixes et des terminaux déployables du système Syracuse.

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22 mai 2015 5 22 /05 /mai /2015 11:50
Satellite Communication Solutions by Thales

19 mai 2015 by Thales


Thales delivers military satellite communication systems to armies all around the world. With a comprehensive portfolio of land, naval and air terminals together with its fully secured “System 21” modem solution, Thales is able to meet the most stringent requirements in terms of sovereignty, security, integration, quality of services.
Discover Thales’ know how in the integration of state of the art satcom solutions for high data rate on-the-move communication systems for all types of platforms.

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19 mai 2015 2 19 /05 /mai /2015 12:50
Thales recent history in Military Satcom Solutions

13 mai 2015 by Thales


Since 2002, Thales has been delivering military satellite communications systems to armies all around the world. With a comprehensive portfolio of land, naval and air terminals together with an full integrated system offering, Thales is able to meet the most stringent requirements in terms of sovereignty, security, integration, quality of services.

Discover Thales’ know how in the integration of state of the art satcom solutions for high data rate on-the-move communication systems for all types of platforms.

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30 avril 2015 4 30 /04 /avril /2015 10:50
Defence cooperation talks in Cyprus


Nicosia - 23 April, 2015 by European Defence Agency


Jorge Domecq, EDA Chief Executive, today travelled to Cyprus for discussions with the Cypriot Minister of Defence, Christoforos Fokaides on the preparation of the European Council in June 2015 and Cyprus’ participation in EDA projects. During the visit Cyprus confirmed its participation in the Agency’s EU Satcom Market pooled procurement initiative for commercial satellite communications. Mr. Domecq also held discussions with the Cypriot Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ioannis Kasoulides. 


“I would like to underline my satisfaction for the productive meeting we had today with the Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency. I had the opportunity to reiterate our firm will to further enhance our contribution and support to the common initiatives and efforts of the Agency. The signing today of the Satcom Market Joint Procurement Arrangement is just an indication of this. In addition, we have also agreed today to co-organise an important Maritime Security Conference here in Cyprus next November which reflects the emphasis that we want to attribute in this field but also the role that Cyprus can play”, stressed Minister Fokaides.

“Satellite communications are a scarce and investment-intensive capability. The Agency’s approach to pool Member State’s demand of commercially available satellite communications aims to reduce costs, ease access, and improve operational efficiency. There are only advantages for Member States, since they only pay what they use at the best price and when needed. This is why I welcome Cyprus’ decision”, stressed Jorge Domecq during his visit in Cyprus. 


EU Satcom Market

Commercial satellite communications are used by all nations to provide extra capacity on top of their own military and governmental satellite communications. The EU Satcom Market provides a flexible and cost-effective way of doing this, with the European Defence Agency acting as the central purchasing body for all participating countries. So far, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxemburg, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom take part in the project. Since the launch of the project, 20 orders have been processed through this procurement cell, for a total value of about 2.5 million euros. Member States are already forwarding their requirements for 2015 and it is expected that their interest and usage will increase significantly.


Visit to Member States

The visit in Cyprus also allowed for meetings with other high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Defence, as well as briefings about the armed forces of Cyprus and research initiatives. It is part of a series of visits by Mr. Domecq to all EDA Member States following his appointment as EDA Chief Executive and ahead of the Ministerial Steering Board on 18 May 2015. So far, Mr. Domecq visited Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, the Netherlands, Ireland, France, Romania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Estonia, Poland, Slovenia and Greece. 


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19 mars 2015 4 19 /03 /mars /2015 17:40
Russia Starts Large-Scale Communications Drills in Nine Regions


Mar 18, 2015 (Sputnik)


In December 2014, the Russian Defense Ministry said it planned to carry out at least 4,000 military drills in 2015.


Units of Russia's signals troops began on Monday large-scale communications field exercises in nine regions of the Eastern Military District, the district's press service said.


"The drills envision the use of advanced relay broadcast stations, mobile video-conferencing systems, modern radio stations and satellite communications that were put in service with the Eastern Military District in 2014-2015," the press service said in a statement.


On March 12, Eastern Military District press head Col. Alexander Gordeyev said that a military exercise involving anti-air defense troops started in the region.


Prior to that, on March 3, the district's press service said that more than 2,500 artillerymen were participating in a major military exercise in Russia's Far East, completing long-distance marches and practicing inter-unit coordination.


In December 2014, the Russian Defense Ministry said it planned to carry out at least 4,000 military drills in 2015

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19 mars 2015 4 19 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
US Army Orders 19 Gray Eagle UAVs


Mar 18, 2015 defense-aerospace.com

 (Source: US Department of Defense; issued Mar 16, 2015)


Pentagon Contract Announcement


General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., Poway, California, was awarded a $132,660,931 modification (P00022) to contract W58RGZ-13-C-0109 to acquire 19 Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft, 19 SATCOM Air Data Terminals, one lot of initial spares, and one lot of ground support equipment .


Fiscal 2014 other procurement (Army) funds in the amount of $132,660,931 were obligated at the time of the award. Estimated completion date is May 31, 2017. Work will be performed in Poway, California.


Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the contracting activity.

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18 mars 2015 3 18 /03 /mars /2015 17:20
Unfurlable Mesh Antennas from Harris Successfully Deploy on US Navy's 3rd MUOS Satellite


Mar 17, 2015 ASDNews Source : Harris Corporation


Two unfurlable mesh antenna reflectors developed by Harris Corporation have successfully deployed onboard the third Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) satellite built by Lockheed Martin. This represents the fifth and sixth successful Harris reflector deployments in the planned 5-satellite MUOS system. The announcement was made during Satellite 2015 being held March 16-19 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

The MUOS satellite constellation operates like a smart phone network in the sky, vastly improving current secure mobile satellite communications for warfighters on the move. Unlike previous systems, MUOS provides users and on-demand, beyond-line-of-sight capability to transmit and receive high-quality, prioritized voice and mission data, on a high-speed IP-based system. Once fully deployed, MUOS will be compatible with, but provide 16-times the capacity of the legacy UHF satellite system.


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18 mars 2015 3 18 /03 /mars /2015 15:35
Credits : Airbus DS

Credits : Airbus DS


17 March 2015 Ministry of Defence and Philip Dunne MP


The UK will move one of its communication satellites to the Asia Pacific region for the first time to deliver protected and secure satellite communications services.


Defence Minister Philip Dunne confirmed at the Langkawi International Maritime & Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition in Malaysia, that Airbus will reposition one of the Skynet 5 satellites, providing the UK with secure communications and a greater ability to support regional humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

As part of a multi-million pound investment, Airbus Defence & Space – which operates the satellite on behalf of the UK Government – will also build a ground station in Australia. The move represents significant export opportunities for the UK as any spare communication capacity will be sold.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne, said:

Today’s announcement that Airbus will be moving one of the UK’s Skynet 5 satellites to the eastern Asia-Pacific region is clear proof of how much our relationships with our international allies matter.

This is the first time that we have had a secure communications capability in the region, and shows the depth of our commitment to our allies and partners in the region, including Malaysia, in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

The Skynet 5 is a private finance initiative contracted to Airbus Defence & Space, who own and operate the Skynet 5 secure communications satellites and the ground network which provide all Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications to the UK Ministry of Defence.

As part of the contract, NATO and other allied governments are able to use Skynet services to augment their existing communication services. It is intended that the Skynet satellite will be in position by the middle of 2015.

A range of world leading British technologies are being exhibited at LIMA as the United Kingdom looks to strengthen industrial ties with Malaysia in the defence and security sectors.

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6 mars 2015 5 06 /03 /mars /2015 08:20
AN-PRC-155 Manpack - source GD

AN-PRC-155 Manpack - source GD


March 5, 2015: Strategy Page


In January the U.S. launched the third (of four) MUOS (Mobile User Objective System) communications satellites. As a result about 70 percent of earth’s surface is now covered by the new MUOS military communications system. MUOS gives military users cell-phone-like capabilities anywhere in the world. Eventually four MUOS communications satellites operating in 36,000 kilometer stationary (geosynchronous) orbits will provide superior satellite phone service worldwide. This will also include encrypted communications that will work despite being in forests or most buildings. In effect, MUOS can replace cell phone towers in any area on the planet once the signals from one of the four satellites are aimed at the area of operations. The complete system is supposed to be active by 2016. The first satellite went up in early 2014. The four ground stations (one for each satellite) are in Sicily, North America, Hawaii, and Australia.


Yet sometimes newer isn’t better. Such was the case with trying to get the infantry to give up their existing PRC-117/150 manpack (carried) radio for the new MUOS compatible PRC-155 radio. “PRC” means “portable radio,” and while the PRC radios have been getting lighter since World War II (when they weighed more than twice as much as the PRC-155), range and interference remained a problem. Thus although the PRC-155 had lots of neat new features field tests brought forth lots of complaints from potential users (infantry who have to carry and use the PRC-155). For starters the PRC-155 weighs 50-100 percent more than the older models. It has less than half the range (three kilometers versus seven) and the batteries last only six hours (versus over 30), The PRC is subject to overheating and the user interface is considered inferior.


The 6.4 kg (14 pounds, one third of that is batteries) PRC-155 radios are used in vehicles and carried by infantry. This is the latest vehicle/manpack radio design and is replacing the PRC-150, which were widely adopted in the last decade, initially by SOCOM (Special Operations Command). The army wants to buy over 50,000 of them. The big selling point for the PRC-155 is MUOS upgrade kits (some additional hardware and software). Most of PRC-155s will have the MUOS add-on kit. With this kit the PRC-155 is equipped to provide Internet-like capabilities on the battlefield and MUOS gives access to a world-wide net. This is a big deal for ground troops because existing radios often had their range greatly reduced by terrain (hills or many tall buildings) or weather (electric disturbances high up). A satellite link eliminates this problem and ground troops have been asking for this for a long time. Sat links are still expensive and a rationed resource.


But when the infantry were asked to try out the PRC-155 many concluded that the negatives were not worth it. Moreover the delays in getting the PRC-155 to the troops forced the military to seek out an off-the-shelf design (the AN/PRC-117G) in the 1990s. This is a 5.45 kg (12 pound) radio that can be carried or installed in vehicles. About a third of its weight is the battery. It has a maximum output of 20 watts and handles FM, UHF, and VHF signals, including satellite based communications. On the ground max range is 20 kilometers (depending on hills and the antenna used). These cost about $40,000 each. There is an improved AN/PRC-117G (the MNVR) that cost $56,000 each. That includes development costs (for the wish list of tweaks and upgrades the military wants). The U.S. has been using the AN/PRC-117 since the late 1990s as an interim radio and found it a solid piece of equipment.


The AN/PRC-117 is based on a commercial design (the Falcon series) that several foreign armed forces and many civilian operations use. The AN/PRC-117 has been regularly upgraded in that time (going from version A to the current G). The upgraded Falcon (PRC-150) appealed to SOCOM (Special Operations Command) which proceeded to buy half a billion dollars' worth of AN/PRC-150 radios. These cost about $2,500 each and all of them were delivered on schedule. The 4.6 kg (ten pounds, without batteries) radios are very flexible (are used in vehicles or backpacks) and are able to use several different types of transmission (including bouncing signals off the ionosphere, for longer range or just to get a signal out of a built up area). Digital transmissions allow for data to get through under poor atmospheric conditions or when in a built up area. The radios also have good encryption and the ability to send and receive all forms of digital data. These radios are also now used by the army.


A similar situation occurred back in the 1990s, when SOCOM realized it needed a new personal radio for its troops and an army “new radio technology” program (JTRS) was supposed to take care of that but did not. Rather than wait SOCOM got together with a radio manufacturer, told them what they needed, and within two years they had MBITR (which soon got official sanction as AN/PRC-148). When the rest of the army saw MBITR many troops bought them with their own money. After Iraq army units began buying the AN/PRC-148 on their own. Soon, over 100,000 MBITR radios were in use.


Some elements of the JTRS (which was cancelled in 2011) survived in the form of radios like the PRC-155. While this radio was acceptable for use in vehicles, it did not make it when troops had to carry it. The military is determined to make the PRC-155 work. By early 2015 about 1,200 PRC-155s have been delivered to the U.S. Army for troop use. Now that three MUOS birds are up there American soldiers in most parts of the world can actually sample the advantages of the PRC-155, along with the disadvantages they already know about.

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3 février 2015 2 03 /02 /février /2015 17:50
EDA discusses synergies at EU Space Policy Conference


Brussels - 30 January, 2015 European Defence Agency


EDA European Synergies & Innovation Director Denis Roger provided the audience of the 7th EU Space Policy Conference with an overview of the Agency’s work in the field of Governmental satellite communications. 


The 7th Annual Conference on European Union Space Policy took place 27-28 January in Brussels. For this year’s edition, this event of major importance for the space community focused on the rising demand for space services and applications in Europe and on ways to reinforce the EU’s position in that domain. It gathered high-level speakers from governments, industry and EU institutions.



Speaking as part of the sixth session dedicated to the increasing civil and security & defence synergies of space services, EDA European Synergies & Innovation (ESI) Director Denis Roger put the focus on the Agency’s role in the cooperative Govsatcom (Governmental Satellite Communications) programme. “A common set of requirements has been approved by participating Member States in 2014”, he pointed out. “The European Defence Agency is now preparing the technical studies that will allow us to offer options to Member States by late 2016, early 2017”, he added.

From the outset, this future Govsatcom programme will need to benefit from a dual approach, taking into account military and civil needs. “Not taking advantage of such synergies will be a waste of efficiency and taxpayer’s money”, Denis Roger stressed. He also discussed the topic of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), another capability priority supported by the December 2013 European Council with an important space dimension:  “The DESIRE program, ran jointly by EDA and the European Space Agency, will investigate if satellite communications are compatible with safety and navigability requirements for the air traffic insertion of RPAS”.  


Dual-use approach

Denis Roger stressed again the benefits of a dual-use approach on these topics. He also mentioned cyber defence as a field where close coordination between civil and military users is needed and should be taken into account at the very beginning of any new programmatic initiative.

He concluded on the fact that the progress made to better exploit civil-military synergies did not diminish the need for specific defence research and had to be pursued through the full use of EU funding instruments to support them as well as other dual-use initiatives in the space domain.


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9 janvier 2015 5 09 /01 /janvier /2015 12:20
GD-Built WIN-T Increment 2 SNE Supports US Army Field Artillery Operations


Jan 8, 2015 ASDNews Source : General Dynamics Corporation


During the recent Warfighter Information Network-Tactical (WIN-T) Increment 2 Development Test 2, a U.S. Army field artillery team found that the WIN-T Soldier Network Extension (SNE) significantly increased their communications reach and improved their call-for-fire response time. The SNE supported call-for-fire mission 'threads' during the Development Test 2 and Network Integration Evaluation 15.1 that took place in October and November at Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Missile Range, N.M.


Prior to the SNE, forward observers and fire support officers relied on legacy line-of-site (LOS) radios to transmit calls for fire and counter fire at the far-edges of a mission area. During the tests, soldiers with the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment (4/27), 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, used the SNE's satellite communications capability to accomplish their mission.


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8 janvier 2015 4 08 /01 /janvier /2015 12:55
Satellites télécoms militaires : Thales et Airbus vont se partager Comsat-NG

Les deux satellites de télécoms militaires français devront être lancés à l'horizon 2020 (Crédits : Thales Alenia Space)


07/01/2015 Michel Cabirol – LaTribune.fr


Le contrat du programme de satellites de télécoms militaires de nouvelle génération Comsat-NG devrait être notifié en fin d'année aux deux industriels, Airbus Defence and Space et Thales Alenia Space.


Après bien des péripéties et des batailles de chiffonniers entre Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) et Thales Alenia Space (TAS), les deux industriels se sont finalement mis en ordre de marche pour présenter une offre commune pour le programme Comsat NG, qui porte sur la fabrication de deux satellites de télécoms militaires de nouvelle génération. Sous la pression du ministère de la Défense, notamment de la direction générale de l'armement (DGA), Airbus DS et TAS ont "trouvé un accord entre industriels" en fin d'année dernière, a annoncé à "La Tribune" le PDG de TAS, Jean-Loïc Galle. "Avec Airbus, nous avons eu beaucoup de discussions et nous pouvons faire une proposition commune à la DGA", a-t-il précisé.

Il était temps. Condamnés à s'entendre, ils y sont parvenus. Car faute d'accord, la DGA était prête à ouvrir une compétition ouverte aux deux seuls constructeurs de satellites tricolores. Elle était même à deux doigts de le faire. "Cette compétition aurait pu être fatale au vaincu dans ce domaine, estime un très bon observateur du dossier. Ils ont été raisonnables in fine". Il était temps aussi pour tenir le calendrier ambitieux du programme, pour ne pas dire tendu. Un programme qui devait être lancé en 2013. Capables de résister à des brouillages à toute épreuve, les deux satellites, qui doivent succéder au système Syracuse 3, devront être lancés à l'horizon 2020.

Les deux satellites de télécoms devront répondre d'une part à l'augmentation des débits liée à la numérisation croissante du champ de bataille et apporter la capacité SATCOM à de nouveaux utilisateurs, notamment les drones, les stations terrestres en mouvement et les porteurs aéronautiques.


Un partenariat public privé exclu

Les deux constructeurs présentent une offre très classique pour réaliser ce programme conformément à la demande de la DGA. Une procédure d'acquisition via un partenariat public privé a été exclue. "C'est passé de mode", confie-t-on à La Tribune. Les modalités d'acquisition des capacités de Comsat NG ont été décidées fin 2014, note le CNES dans son programme 2015. Le programme devrait être notifié en fin d'année, explique-t-on par ailleurs à La Tribune. Le ministère de la Défense a intégré dans le cadre du projet de loi de finances pour 2015, conformément à la Loi de programmation militaire (LPM), le démarrage de Comsat NG mais, souligne-t-on, l'enveloppe budgétaire consacrée à ce programme est très juste. 800 millions d'euros d'autorisations d'engagement sont prévus pour 2015.

Pour atteindre les performances visées, le CNES développe le démonstrateur FAST afin de maîtriser certains composants clés. C'est un projet à caractère dual destiné à lever certains risques technologiques et techniques de la prochaine génération de satellites de télécoms commerciaux civils et par la même, de la capacité militaire post Syracuse 3. Il inclut en particulier le développement de puces nouvelles générations communes aux programmes spatiaux civils et défense. Pour les bandes de fréquences duales Ka, il a engagé les travaux sur le projet Telemak dans le prolongement du programme franco-italien Athena-Fidus, qui offre des services de télécoms haut débit pour les forces militaires et les services de la Sécurité civile français et italiens.


Un coordonnateur pour rapprocher Airbus DS et TAS

Pour avoir une offre commune de TAS et Airbus DS, le ministère de la Défense n'a pas lésiné sur les moyens. Il a nommé un coordonnateur chargé d'arbitrer les relations tumultueuses entre les deux constructeurs, qui se sont régulièrement chamaillés sur ce dossier. Très clairement, il avait été nommé pour aider à la convergence et donner son avis. La DGA ainsi que le CNES suivaient le dossier de près. Une coopération souhaitée entre les deux impétrants pour gagner du temps. Car le vaincu se serait lancé dans des procédures très longues (trop ?) pour revenir dans la partie.

En septembre 2012, la DGA avait également tenté de rapprocher les deux industriels. TAS s'était vu confier une étude de dimensionnement des capacités militaires de télécoms spatiales. Cette étude s'inscrivait dans le cadre de la préparation du renouvellement des deux satellites Syracuse 3 fabriqués par TAS et en complément des deux satellites Sicral 2 et Athena Fidus, développés eux aussi par TAS et réalisés en coopération avec l'Italie. La DGA avait également notifié à Airbus Space Systems (alors Astrium) un contrat similaire. Comsat NG devrait fournir, outre les capacités de communication en bande X de Syracuse III, de nouvelles capacités en bande militaire Ka et en bande UHF.

Au vu des besoins militaires exprimés, TAS et Airbus Space Systems devront "expliciter les options possibles, tant en termes de solutions techniques que d'organisations industrielles, avec le souci permanent d'optimiser les coûts", avait à l'époque expliqué la DGA. "Leurs résultats permettront d'éclairer les orientations du programme Comsat NG en prenant en compte le potentiel de coopération avec des partenaires européens, en particulier le Royaume-Uni et l'Italie". A priori, cette dernière requête semble avoir été oubliée par tout le monde.


L'échec de Nectar

Les deux groupes s'étaient très violemment affronté entre 2010 et 2012 sur le fameux projet Nectar. Le ministère de la Défense voulait vendre dans le cadre d'un partenariat public privé (PPP) deux satellites de télécoms militaires (Syracuse 3) exploités actuellement par l'armée de l'air à un groupe privé, qui lui devait se rémunérer ensuite en vendant les communications spatiales au ministère de la Défense et à des clients tiers. Fort de son expérience avec Paradigm en Grande-Bretagne, Airbus poussait ce projet tandis que TAS freinait des quatre fers... avec la bienveillance de la DGA, hostile au projet Nectar.

La DGA avait décidé en mai 2012 de "classer sans suite la procédure relative à l'opération de cession de l'usufruit des satellites Syracuse et à l'acquisition de services de communications spatiales". Aujourd'hui, la DGA souhaite réellement une entente entre les deux constructeurs. "Nous avons déjà dû abandonner l'instrument du PPP pour de nombreux autres programmes - notamment dans le domaine des télécommunications -, car l'intérêt économique n'existait que pour le prestataire, et pas pour l'État", avait expliqué, en octobre 2013 à l'Assemblée nationale, le Délégué général pour l'armement, Laurent Collet-Billon.

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19 décembre 2014 5 19 /12 /décembre /2014 07:20
CP140M Aurora opération IMPACT (30 oct 2014) – photo MDN

CP140M Aurora opération IMPACT (30 oct 2014) – photo MDN

16.12.2014 45eNord.ca

IMP Aerospace delivered the first of three CP-140M Aurora fitted with an advanced Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) satellite communications system on schedule and under budget today approximately a month after its arrival. Participation at the delivery ceremony included the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant General Yvan Blondin, as well as Director Air Requirements, Colonel Ian Lightbody, and 14 Wing Commander Iain Huddleston.

The prototype CP-140M Aurora aircraft will provide an improved Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability in support of Canada’s military requirements internationally. In concert with DND personnel, IMP Aerospace provided the installation design and modification of the IBLOS system in Halifax, NS. The system enables secure high-speed data streaming from the aircraft via satellite in areas which are remote from familiar ground stations.

« IMP Aerospace has supported the CP-140 Aurora fleet since its entry into service with the RCAF and has engineered and installed numerous modifications and enhancements to the aircraft on behalf of the RCAF. I’m very pleased that this urgent requirement was completed on schedule and under budget to the RCAF and will provide them with enhanced operational capabilities, » stated David Gossen, President of IMP Aerospace & Defence.

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29 novembre 2014 6 29 /11 /novembre /2014 12:50
Austria joins EU Satcom Market


Brussels - 27 November, 2014 European Defence Agency


On 23 November 2014 Austria became a contributing member of EDA’s EU Satcom Market pooled procurement initiative, thus joining Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, and the United Kingdom.


Commercial satellite communications are used by all nations to provide extra capacity on top of their own military and governmental satellite communications. The EU Satcom Market provides a flexible and cost-effective way of doing this, with the European Defence Agency (EDA) acting as the central purchasing body for all participating countries.


A growing intiaitive


Commenting on Austria joining the project, Claude-France Arnould, EDA Chief Executive, underlined: “Since the launch of the project, 20 orders have been processed through this procurement cell, for a total value of about two millions euros. Member States are already forwarding their requirements for 2015 and it is expected that their interest and usage will increase significantly”.


Mag. Gerald Klug, the Minister of Defence and Sports in Austria, also reflected on this new cooperation effort undertaken through EDA: "The main task of the European Defence Agency is to identify synergies that increase the efficiency of projects and thus reduce costs. The EU Satcom Market shows how money can be saved through joint efforts."




EDA is acting as the central purchasing body towards a single economical operator and is managing a single order on behalf of the contributing nations. With the EU Satcom Market, they are provided with a simple and cost-effective solution, especially for occasional use.


More services are being offered to users as the project evolves: mobile satellite, morale and welfare as well as managed services will be added in the coming weeks. Additional Member States also consider joining the project.

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20 novembre 2014 4 20 /11 /novembre /2014 06:50
Defence Ministers assess EDA progress during the Agency's Steering Board


Brussels - 18 November, 2014 European Defence Agency


The Steering Board of 18 November was chaired for the first time by Federica Mogherini, the new Head of the European Defence Agency. It was an important opportunity for Defence Ministers to assess the progress achieved since December 2013. It was also an ideal forum for the new High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission to discuss cooperation on military capabilities with European ministers and to prepare for the June 2015 European Council.


Progress on the four key programmes


Four projects have been endorsed by the 2013 European Council: Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR), Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), Governmental Satellite Communications (GovSatcom) and Cyber Defence. In line with their respective roadmaps, the progress made in each of these four key capability areas has been welcomed by Defence Ministers during the Steering Board:


  • Air-to-Air Refuelling: under the lead of the Netherlands, work is progressing towards the establishment of a European strategic tanker capability by 2020. A contract for new air-to-air refuelling aircraft is expected to be placed by the end of 2015.

  • RPAS: EDA supports the development of a European Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) RPAS through a number of projects focusing on certification, air traffic insertion, airworthiness and harmonisation of flight crew training. The Agency is facilitating efforts to develop a new MALE RPAS capability for the next decade by supporting Member States willing to join such an initiative. EDA is also backing a “European MALE RPAS community” for systems that are already in service.

  • GovSatcom: the requirements of European military users (Common Staff Target) for the next generation of Governmental Satellite Communications have been formally endorsed by Member States. This paves the way to the preparation phase of a future cooperative programme, to be completed by the end of 2016 under Spanish lead.

  • Cyber Defence: in line with the EU Cyber Security Strategy, EDA is working on specific projects to increase its Member States’ capabilities in this domain. The Agency has already supported the operational headquarters of Operation EUFOR RCA by providing cyber awareness training. Work is underway to develop deployable “Cyber Defence situational awareness kits” by 2015.


Incentives for cooperation

As tasked by the European Council, the Agency has developed proposals to incentivise cooperation, mainly through non-market distorting fiscal measures and pooled procurement. During the Steering Board, Defence ministers welcomed this progress as a basis for further work.

  • Fiscal measures: in March 2014, the Belgian Ministry of Finance granted VAT exemption to EDA’s ad hoc projects and activities. Three projects have already benefitted from that exemption: JDEAL, C-IED Manual Neutralisation Techniques and EU Satcom Market. This VAT exemption gives a real bonus to defence cooperation among Member States.

  • Pooled procurement: Proposals were discussed for the establishment of a pooled procurement mechanism to facilitate cooperative acquisition and support of defence equipment, while improving interoperability. This mechanism, whose creation still requires deeper discussion among Member States, would address priorities defined by them.


Strategic outlook

As requested by the December 2013 European Council, Defence Ministers have adopted a Policy Framework to foster more systematic and long-term defence cooperation. This document aims to provide a coherent basis for defence cooperation in Europe, from priority setting through to in-service support, disposal and decommissioning. It offers tangible support to national defence reviews and provides a platform for greater convergence in defence planning.

Complementing this Policy Framework, the revised Capability Development Plan (CDP) endorsed by Member States earlier this year will be an essential element for the setting of cooperative capability development priorities. It provides a list of priority actions based on lessons learned from European operations, future security scenarios and long-term trends. It addresses the Member States’ priorities for their armed forces and, as such, will form the basis of future European collaborative programmes.


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11 octobre 2014 6 11 /10 /octobre /2014 11:50
Thales TWTs for Space applications

10 oct. 2014 Thales Group


Thales, a world-class leader in Satellite Communications Uplinks and Downlinks has an unrivalled legacy in Satcom and Space applications. We propose a complete range of space TWTs designed for advanced applications.

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7 octobre 2014 2 07 /10 /octobre /2014 12:20
Northrop Grumman Debuts Three Low-Cost Terminals to Protect Nation's Warfighters, Advance Military Satellite Communications


REDONDO BEACH, Calif. -- Oct. 6, 2014 – Northrop Grumman


Delivering on its commitment to protect the nation's warfighters with secure, affordable satellite communications in an increasing threat environment, Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) will feature three variants of protected low-cost terminals (LCTs) at MILCOM 2014.


The annual conference is being held Oct. 6-8 at the Baltimore Convention Center and attracts military and government experts to discuss the latest advances in protected communications. The company's exhibit – No. 403 – will feature three extremely high frequency LCTs that deliver rapid, jam-resistant connectivity for tactical missions at the same cost as unprotected military communication terminals:


-- Protected communications on the move (P-COTM) are rugged terminals with low-profile vehicle antennas that address unmet, near-term requirements to expand Army communication networks. The terminals are critical beyond-line-of-sight nodes that provide protected connectivity through Milstar and Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites.


--Airborne terminals are an extension of the hardware and software of P-COTM designed for special operations aircraft. The terminals are readily extendable into other manned and unmanned applications and are scheduled to be demonstrated in 2015.


--TCS Protected ULTRA terminals are packaged in airline-checkable transit cases that can be set up within 10 minutes to support modular quick-change feeds and upgrade kits. The terminals are significantly smaller and lighter than current protected communication alternatives.


The LCT variants are a result of a joint investment by Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and TeleCommunication Systems to provide secure, assured command and control to the tactical warfighter. The technology advancement can be produced at a cost significantly below currently fielded protected communication terminals, and will be available for fielding within the next two years.


The company also will participate in a panel, "Supporting the Warfighter with Assured Military SATCOM," Monday, Oct. 6 at 2:30 p.m.in Room 314. The Northrop Grumman panelist will be Tim Frei, vice president, communication systems.


Learn more about Northrop Grumman programs to be featured at the conference by visiting the online media kit at MILCOM 2014 Media Kit.


Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR, and logistics and modernization to government and commercial customers worldwide. Please visit www.northropgrumman.com for more information.

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