The new-generation military communications satellite Syracuse 3B, built by Alcatel Alenia Space as prime contractor for the French defense procurement agency DGA, has been successfully launched. The satellite joins the Syracuse 3A satellite, launched on October 13, 2005, to complete the Syracuse III system. This system provides permanent connections between French military and political authorities at home and operating units deployed around the world.

Like Syracuse 3A, the Syracuse 3B satellite is based on Alcatel Alenia Space's Spacebus platform, in a hardened version. It features a state of the art payload operating in the SHF and EHF bands. The Syracuse III system delivers optimized service in terms of both data throughput and resistance to countermeasures. It has been selected by NATO (C3 Agency), along with the Skynet system from Britain and the Sicral system from Italy, to provide the SHF capacity needed by NATO countries within the scope of NATO's post-2000 SATCOM program.

The system will be gradually deployed as components in the ground segment are delivered. Thales is prime contractor for the ground segment, while Alcatel Alenia Space is responsible for adapting the metropolitan base stations, producing some of the tactical stations, and also taking part in construction of the large, broadband mobile stations and shipborne stations. And, for the first time in a military system, the company is implementing a satellite-based broadband ADSL solution derived from Internet access technologies developed for the civil telecom sector.