The SICRAL 2 military telecommunications satellite was successfully launched on April 26 with an Arianespace launch vehicle from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. SICRAL 2 is a joint program between the Ministry of Defense in Italy and Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) in France for the benefit of Italian and French armed forces, with stakes of 62 percent and 38 percent respectively. It is conducted by Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio, the two companies in the Space Alliance created by Finmeccanica and Thales.
"The launch of the SICRAL 2 satellite marks another major step forward in the successful French-Italian collaboration on space programs," said Jean Loïc Galle, President and CEO of Thales Alenia Space. "Our teamwork, the most dynamic in Europe, enables the two countries to jointly develop defense-oriented satellite capacity that supports each country's independence. Thales Alenia Space is proud of its major role in this dynamic performance, with the Cosmo-SkyMed, Pleiades and Helios 2 intelligence programs, and the Athena-Fidus and Sicral telecom programs."
"Telespazio is pleased to have contributed to the success of the SICRAL 2 mission of the Italian Ministry of Defense and the French DGA", said the CEO of Telespazio Luigi Pasquali. "As with previous missions of the SICRAL program, the company handled the implementation of the ground segment and managed the satellite's delicate phases of launch and putting into orbit, confirming a long tradition of excellence in the field of space operations. For SICRAL 2 as well, Telespazio invested directly in the program, and will therefore have access to part of this satellite's capacity, in order to provide communications services to the armed forces of NATO countries."
Positioned at 37°E in the geostationary orbit, SICRAL 2 will have a service life exceeding 15 years. It will enhance the satellite communications capabilities already provided for Italy by SICRAL 1 and SICRAL 1B (launched in 2001 and 2009) and for France by Syracuse 3A and 3B (launched in 2005 and 2006). All of these satellites were designed and developed by Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio.
SICRAL 2 is claimed to offer unprecedented flexibility and versatility. It will ensure interoperability with existing satellite systems, NATO traffic terminals and current national telecommunications networks. The satellite will provide strategic and tactical satellite communications services, supporting military land, sea and air platforms used by Armed Forces to guarantee internal and external security.