Space to Secure & defend

We provide defense and dual telecommunications as well as Earth observation space capabilities to ensure states' sovereignty and citizens' safety

Thales Alenia Space provides a broad range of space-based solutions to protect national sovereignty. We have developed globally recognized expertise in telecommunications systems for military or dual (civil-military) applications. In addition we produce Earth observation systems using very-high-performance optical or radar instruments, and we supply control and integration centers. A number of countries have ordered these systems from Thales Alenia Space, including Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.

Secure telecommunications

Thales Alenia Space has been prime contractor for a number of military satellite communications (milsatcom) systems for over 40 years now, working for armed forces from around the world. For instance, we’re one of the major contributors to three generations of Sicral satellites for the Italian Ministry of Defense, four generations of Syracuse satellites for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, and two Satcom BW satellites for Germany. Through programs like Sicral and Athena-Fidus, Thales Alenia Space has always played a pivotal role in joint European spaceborne defense.

We are also making a major contribution to the Spanish government’s SPAINSAT NG program. France’s Syracuse 4A military satellite was launched in October 2021 along with the SES-17 communications satellite. Both were built by Thales Alenia Space as prime contractor around the all-electric Spacebus NEO platform. Thales Alenia Space also applies its expertise to dual-use communications systems exported to a number of countries, including Brazil, South Korea and Turkey.

Earth observation systems for surveillance

View from the space of Cosmos radar satellites
©Thales Alenia Space/Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)

Military or dual observation systems guarantee national sovereignty and security by generating invaluable data for border and maritime surveillance, intelligence, mapping and other critical functions. Dual observation systems are also highly useful during natural disasters, providing decision-makers with the vital information needed to quickly identify damaged areas and alert search & rescue organizations. Many countries have also called on us to supply autonomous spaceborne intelligence systems, capable of delivering high-resolution images.

Thales Alenia Space has built up long-standing and unrivaled expertise in very-high-performance observation systems calling on both optical and radar sensors. For example, we built two generations of COSMO-SkyMed radar satellites for the Italian space agency and defense ministry. The first two second-generation COSMO-SkyMed satellites were launched in December 2019 and February 2022, with two more satellites now under construction.

This dual observation system meets government requirements, while also performing an environmental monitoring mission.

These very-high-performance satellites confirm Thales Alenia Space’s world leadership in radar observation systems. We also leveraged this heritage to address export markets. For example, in 2018 we were chosen by South Korea to build four synthetic aperture radar (SAR) observation satellites. Our solutions based on high and very-high-resolution optical instruments have also enjoyed export success. For example, we built the Turkish satellite GÖKTÜRK-1, including its high-resolution optical instrument. Thales Alenia Space is the exclusive supplier of very-high-resolution optical instruments for French intelligence satellites, including the optical payloads on Helios, Pleiades and CSO. The CSO-1 and CSO-2 satellites were launched two years apart, nearly day for day, in December 2018 and 2020.

Photo of CSO - CNES

Thales Alenia Space has capitalized on its expertise in both observation systems and telecom constellations to address new market segments, especially space surveillance and Earth observation at high revisit rates. Through the LeoStella joint venture in the United States, we are contributing to the BlackSky constellation, which will include 60 optical observation satellites featuring submetric resolution and very high revisit rates. Thales Alenia Space has also signed contracts with the European Space Agency (ESA) to supply a first batch of six satellites with SAR radars and an optical satellite for Italy’s future IRIDE Earth observation constellation.

Earth optical consolation
BlackSky ©Thales Alenia Space


Space to

Observe & protect

Check out how Earth observation satellites contribute to monitoring environment and safeguarding our Planet.
Discover more
Space to

Secure & defend

We provide defense and dual telecommunications as well as Earth observation space capabilities to ensure states' sovereignty and citizens' safety
Discover more
Space to

Travel & navigate

Satellite systems provide the information that makes online maps and navigation apps a reality.
Discover more