Army acquires satellite base stations and terminals from the Americans for CZK 1 billion

 09. 11. 2021      category: Army of the Czech Republic
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The purchased terminals are to be incorporated into the Czech Army's satellite network, built within the MILSATCOM project, and to support the activities of units in foreign operations and in the performance of tasks arising from the needs of national crisis management operations (NOZK).

The subject of the procurement is the acquisition and implementation of Deployable Earth Terminal (DET) satellite base stations, satellite ground communication terminals, and Network Management System (NMS) surveillance system to provide independent and stable operational connectivity in foreign operations and domestic crisis situations. These technologies are certified in the Wideband Global SatCom (WGS) military satellite communications system, which is the backbone of the U.S. Army's global satellite communications system and provides globally flexible, high data rate, long-range communications.

shutterstock_1936992886Picture: The MILSATCOM system is a satellite-based military communications network that enables voice and data transmission for a common operational picture of the battlefield situation, streaming video or tracking of troops in operations. (illustration photo) | Shutterstock

Specifically, the acquisition:

  • 4 MILSATCOM - DET satellite base stations
  • 44 Fly-Away Satellite Terminals
  • 1 MILSATCOM operating spare parts kit
  • pcs of WGS NMS surveillance system

The contract also includes warranty and post-warranty service and logistic support until 2027. Routine maintenance will be performed by the Czech Army's own forces.

The MILSATCOM system is a military communications network based on satellite links, which enables the transmission of voice and data for a common operational picture of the situation on the battlefield, streaming video or tracking of units in operations. Achieving the capability of satellite communications at the operational and tactical level of the Czech Army’s units and with foreign partners is one of the objectives to which the Czech Republic committed itself within the framework of NATO Capability Targets 2017. The acquisition of the above-mentioned satellite technology will ensure independent communication not only in foreign operations, but also in the Czech Republic in case of crisis situations, with guaranteed availability. Currently, the Czech Army is dependent on telecommunication operators in these situations and in case of failure of their networks, it is not possible to guarantee the security of the connection. The satellite link will also increase the reliability of the stationary networks of the air and ground forces, into which it will be inserted as a redundant link.

The contract is being procured on a government-to-government basis through the U.S. Government's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, as U.S. military equipment and services are procured exclusively through this program. The contract includes the procurement and implementation of satellite base stations, satellite communications ground terminals, and a Network Management System surveillance system. These technologies are certified and provide flexible, high-speed data transmission and long-distance communications worldwide. The contract also includes warranty and after-sales service and logistics support until 2027.

The negotiated (tender) price is worth EUR 942.9 million. The FMS programme guarantees the Czech Republic the same price at which the US Army would buy this equipment. Compared to the estimated value, the contract price has been increased by less than CZK 100 million. This is mainly due to the increase in the number of ground terminals to be purchased by one third, but also to the increase in inflation over the last two years, the increase in material and energy prices and labour. The contract will be concluded in 2021 and the systems will be delivered between 2022 and 2026.

The Czech Army already has 12 of its own terminals as of 2017. Now, under the above contract, the portfolio will be expanded with additional terminals including satellite base stations. Although the Army already uses satellite communications, it still leases some services from operators, which costs tens of millions a year. In the future, however, full self-sufficiency is envisaged (this could happen in 2024), which will eliminate the need for costly rentals altogether.

 Author: Martin Šiška