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France: Successful launch for Syracuse 4A, a latest generation military satellite.

| 2021

October 24, 2021 is an important date for the French defense space program. The Guyanese Space Center, based in Kourou, was the scene of the successful launch of a latest generation military satellite: Syracuse 4A. This system modernizes military satellite telecommunications capabilities, essential to maintaining the link between the command and the armed forces deployed on the ground, in the sea or in the air, and for France's strategic autonomy.

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France Successful launch for Syracuse 4A a latest generation military satellite Syracuse (French: SYstème de RAdio Communication Utilisant un SatellitE / satellite based radiocommunication system). SYRACUSE IV is a constellation of 3 state-of-the-art, highly secure satellites offering access to very high speed, and a new generation of ground stations, more powerful, more compact and mobiles deployed in the three armies. These user stations will equip infantrymen, vehicles, ships, submarines and for the first time aircraft. In total, more than 400 ground stations will be delivered to the forces (Picture source: Ministère des Armées)

The launch of the SYRACUSE 4A satellite initiates the renewal and modernization of military capabilities satellite communications, provided for by the Military Planning Law LPM 2019-2025.

SYRACUSE IV, which provides for the complete renewal of satellites and ground stations, will gradually replace the resources deployed within the framework of SYRACUSE III. This new generation system will considerably improve the secure communication capacities of the armed forces. It meets the needs of the forces of  communicate at very long distances, on the move, in interoperability with NATO, in complete autonomy.

The SYRACUSE 4A satellite offers a major technological leap, thanks to improved connectivity and up to three times the speed compared to the previous generation (SYRACUSE 3A and 3B, launched in 2005 and 2006). Above all, it is the first electrically powered military satellite in Europe. Based on French know-how, this process has many advantages, such as the possibility of increasing the satellite's telecommunications payload capacity.

By 2030, two more satellites will join Syracuse 4A to form an increasingly efficient constellation. The second, Syracuse 4B, will take off in 2022.

The General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) oversees the SYRACUSE IV program, in an integrated team with the National Center for Space Studies (CNES) and the Space Command, which ensures that operational needs are properly taken into account on behalf of the Armed Forces Staff (EMA). The program is carried out with multiple partners, including Arianespace, Thales Alenia Space, Airbus Defense and Space and Thales SIX. This is proof of the quality of the French industry, rewarded in January 2021 by NATO's choice to entrust France with the creation in Toulouse of a center of excellence exclusively dedicated to space.

Also, the satellite is equipped with surveillance devices to detect the approach of debris or "browsing" satellites, which would come into the transmission range to try to capture communications. Importantly, Syracuse 4A is endowed with better resistance to jamming, interception and cyber attacks.

The launching into orbit is accompanied by the gradual delivery, from 2023, of the SYRACUSE IV stations to the armed forces. More efficient and more secure, they offer the possibility of connecting more users simultaneously by making full use of the dual-band capacity of the satellites.

Concretely, ground stations allow units in operation to establish secure and reliable links with each other and with their echelons of command. In total, more than 400 ground stations will be delivered to the forces to equip infantrymen, vehicles, ships, submarines and even aircraft. All equipment will be interconnected.

France has considerably increased the budgetary resources allocated to military space. The 2019-2025 Military Programming Law brought investments by the Ministry of the Armed Forces to 3.6 billion euros, an ambition reaffirmed by the new defense space strategy announced in 2019 by Florence Parly, the Minister of the Armed Forces, with 700 million additional euros by 2025. In order to strengthen its strategic autonomy, France has adopted an ambitious space defense strategy (SSD), led by the Space Command (CDE) placed under the supervision of organic air force and space. The CDE is responsible, under the authority of the Chief of the Defense Staff (CEMA), for the conduct and execution of military space operations on which depend the security of the national territory, the robustness of our economy but also the protection of populations.

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