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Yahsat selects Airbus to develop mobile telecommunications system for Thuraya

Yahsat is also investing over $500m in Thuraya in addition to strengthening its coverage and capabilities across the Asia Pacific region.

Airbus has been selected by satellite operator Yahsat to build Thuraya 4-NGS, the next-generation mobile telecommunications system which aims to drive the continued advancement of Thuraya’s L-band business.

Thuraya 4-NGS will look to deliver higher capabilities and flexibility while increasing capacity and coverage across Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East, enabling next-generation mobility solutions for all customer segments, including defence, government and enterprise.

Based on the all-electric Airbus Eurostar Neo Platform, Thuraya 4-NGS will incorporate a large 12-metre L-band antenna and a payload with on-board processing providing advanced routing flexibility of up to 3,200 channels with dynamic power allocation over a large number of spot beams.  It is scheduled for operation in 2024. 

The new capabilities will drive leadership across many strategic product lines, such as maritime, IoT, and data solutions offering a wide spectrum of throughput capabilities and the highest speeds available in the market, while reinforcing Thuraya’s strengths in the MSS voice market. 

Thuraya’s system will provide opportunities to customers, service partners, hardware manufacturers and integrators, enhancing the user experience across land, sea and air to support multiple customer segments, including government, consumer and enterprise.

Furthermore, an advanced portfolio of solutions to support government and defence users will hope to accelerate Thuraya’s leadership in this market, both within the UAE, regionally and globally. Meanwhile, all existing products and services will continue to be supported by Thuraya’s space and ground segments, enabling service continuity during and after the transformation programme.

This latest commitment from Yahsat takes its total committed investment to date to well over $500m, and more is anticipated in the coming years, including an option with Airbus to build Thuraya 5-NGS, strengthening its coverage and capabilities across the Asia Pacific region.

Commenting on the development, Khaled Al Qubaisi, Chairman of Yahsat’s Board of Directors and CEO of Mubadala’s Aerospace, Renewables & ICT platform said: “The $500m commitment underscores our position as a market leader, pioneer and disruptor. We are creating a multipurpose and flexible satellite ecosystem that is attuned for growth and future diversification, and Thuraya 4-NGS is a key milestone in our ongoing mission to provide advanced yet affordable satellite solutions with levels of performance, reliability and security at the leading edge of today’s technology.” 

Ali Al Hashemi, CEO of Thuraya and General Manager of Yahsat Government Solutions (YGS) added: “Thuraya 4-NGS represents a significant evolution of our L-band capabilities, enabling a wider range of interoperable FSS/MSS solutions for Thuraya and YGS customers.  This will be critical in delivering superior defence solutions, such as battlefield communications, to our government users, while offering a complete MSS portfolio to all of our current and future customers and partners to drive the next phase of innovation and growth.” 

Jean-Marc Nasr, Head of Airbus Space Systems noted: “Building on a relationship with Yahsat that dates back more than 10 years, our selection is testament to the innovation and engineering excellence of Airbus’ geostationary satellites.  Thuraya 4-NGS, as well as being electric, will also benefit from our latest processed payload technology giving increased flexibility and adaptability over the course of its life in orbit. Yahsat’s new project reinforces Airbus Defence and Space’s position as the world’s number one in electric propulsion satellites.”