Achieving operational high-speed access
Athena-Fidus has provided the French military with Ka band capability since early 2014. This technological leap provides global coverage (for drone operation, particularly in transit phases), a coverage of metropolitan France including maritime approaches and five mobile “spots beams” of 1,750 km in diameter, covering up to five areas depending on operational needs. The satellite and its payload are designed for a 15-year operational lifetime.
In addition to the satellite, the programme also provides French national defence with a ground segment of around 660 Athena-Fidus-compatible ground stations. The objective of this ground segment is threefold: to support resilience for the strategic core of the Descartes project (the Socrates project’s successor), to establish connections between commands deployed in foreign theatres and to provide service for remote sites (semaphores, detachments, etc.). The first stations were expected for 2014 to coincide with the satellite’s operational launch.