SICRAL (Sistema Italiano per Comunicazioni Riservate ed Allarmi, Italian System for Secure Communications and Alerts), is Italy’s satellite system for military communications, boasting unprecedented flexibility and versatility. The system allows interoperability between the networks of defence, law enforcement and civil emergency agencies, and those responsible for the management of strategic infrastructure. The SICRAL programme improves military satellite communications capacity for strategic and tactical links in Italy and for out-of-area operations, with terrestrial, naval and air platforms assured until 2030 with the launch of new satellites.
The programme is divided into three phases.
The first began in 2001 with the launch of the SICRAL 1, a satellite that is still in operation.
The second phase began in 2009 with the launch of SICRAL 1B, which has an estimated operational life span of 13 years.
The third phase, in cooperation with France, started in April 2015 with the launch of SICRAL 2, with an estimated operational life span of 15 years.
SICRAL 2 is a geostationary satellite operating in the UHF and SHF bands, able to enhance the capability of military satellite communications already offered by SICRAL 1 and SICRAL 1B and by France's Syracuse System. In particular, SICRAL 2 supports satellite communications for the Italian and French Armed Forces, anticipating the needs of growth and development in the next few years.
The satellite has an additional back-up function to the current capacity in SHF band of the French Syracuse 3 system and that of SICRAL 1B allocated to NATO communications. The system was designed and developed to provide seamless integration with existing national infrastructure and those of allied countries.
For all the SICRAL missions, Telespazio managed the phases of design, construction, integration and testing of the ground segment at the Defence Control Centre (CIGC) of Vigna di Valle (Rome) and in the Fucino Space Centre, that plays the role of back-up centre. Telespazio also managed the LEOP (Launch and Early Orbit Phase) and IOT (In-Orbit Test) phases. For SICRAL 1B and SICRAL 2, Telespazio also succeeded in the launch services. For SICRAL 2, Telespazio is also responsible for the interconnection system between the Italian and French mission centres.
Telespazio has participated in the investments for the construction of SICRAL 1B and SICRAL 2, thus consolidating its role as military telecommunications satellite operator (MILSATCOM). The company has part of the transmission capacity of SICRAL 1B and SICRAL 2, and provides communications services to the Armed Forces of NATO member states.
Thales Alenia Space
In continuity with the role held for the previous SICRAL mission, Thales Alenia Space looked after the design of the entire SICRAL 2 System, the development of the satellite and of the relative Ground Segment, the integration and tests of the satellite at its Satellite Integration Centres in Rome, Turin and Cannes, as well as the integration and tests of the Ground Segment at the Italian and French Operational Defence Sites.
In particular, Thales Alenia Space in Italia designed, developed and integrated the Mission, Network and Satellite Control Centres into the existing Italian SICRAL Satellite Telecommunications Infrastructure; The company developed the satellite’s most technologically advanced equipment, including processors and antennas of the payloads in UHF and SHF band, and thus the transponders for Remote Control, Telemetry and Ranging with use of Expanded Spectrum modulations.
Leonardo takes part to this very important programme also through its Electronics Division which has been involved in the Sicral 1 and 1B missions providing PPDU Power Protection and Distribution Units equipment to manage and distribute the power and the Earth sensors IRES-D. In SICRAL 2 the Division is involved with its star tracker AA-STR.