The Hellas-Sat-4/SaudiGeoSat-1 communications satellite at Lockheed Martin

The Hellas-Sat-4/SaudiGeoSat-1 communications satellite at Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin to build satellite system

The US-based manufacturer is partnering with Taqnia to develop and deploy the new ground segment for the secure and commercial operations of SGS-1 newest commercial communications satellite SaudiGeoSat-1 (SGS-1)

July 2020

Lockheed Martin has been selected to develop a new ground system to control Saudi Arabia’s newest commercial communications satellite SaudiGeoSat-1 (SGS-1).

The US-based manufacturer is partnering with the Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (Taqnia) to develop and deploy the new ground segment for the secure and commercial operations of SGS-1, a statement said.

The ground system supports advanced Ka-band spot beam communications services, commercial off-the-shelf-based broadband services as well as Saudi-specific secure communication services. The system will be deployed in two phases, with the initial commercial system going online in late 2020 and the Lockheed Martin-engineered secure communications system following.

“This modern satellite ground system will help Saudi Arabia take full advantage of the advanced capabilities of SaudiGeoSat-1 and nurture Saudi’s growing native engineering talent,” said Joseph Rank, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Saudi Arabia. “This system will also allow the integration of current and future Air and Missile Defense Systems, adding enhanced security and resiliency further protecting the citizens of Saudi Arabia,” he added.

As the Kingdom’s satellite communications needs evolve, this system is designed to grow with them and accommodate additional communications satellites. SaudiGeoSat-1 is one of two payloads aboard the first modernised LM 2100 satellite bus designed and built by Lockheed Martin. The Hellas Sat-4 / SaudiGeoSat-1 satellite launched aboard an Ariane V rocket from French Guiana on February 5, 2019. SaudiGeoSat-1 will enable future sovereign control and interoperability of all the Kingdom’s commercial and military platforms.

“Saudi engineers trained and worked side-by-side with Lockheed Martin’s world-class satellite manufacturing experts,” said Abdulrahman Alkhathlan, CEO of Taqnia Holdings. “This practical learning experience is helping build qualified Saudi talent to support future satellite and ground component production in the Kingdom,” he added.

Space is a critical enabler for national security and defense systems and aligns with Saudi Vision 2030, as well as goals for self-sufficiency, critical to the Kingdom’s future,” Alkhathlan said. “A comprehensive, integrated space architecture strengthens the Kingdom’s modern military systems and operations across all domains, dramatically improving situational awareness,” he added.

The SaudiGeoSat-1 communications payload provides advanced Ka-band steerable spot beam communications services for the Kingdom ’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, including secure communications for the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

Hellas Sat4/SaudiGeoSat-1 is the first of two LM 2100 satellites in the Arabsat-6G program. The second is Arabsat-6A. The satellite features a reprogrammable in-orbit mission processor that lets operators change configuration as their business needs change.



Earlier, the US-based global security and aerospace company was awarded an extra $932 million to supply intermediate-range interceptor missiles to the US and Saudi Arabia. The contract is another sign of the missile and missile defense powerhouse growing inside Lockheed’s vast defence portfolio. The Pentagon announced a contract modification to add the new Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) one-shot interceptors. The THAAD system, designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin using Raytheon radars and Aerojet Rocketdyne boosters, is designed to shoot down short- and medium-range ballistic missiles on their descent.

The system is somewhat portable and deployable as needed, and it, along with the Lockheed-built Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System deployed on much of the Navy’s fleet of destroyers, is quickly becoming a vital cog in the US defence strategy. Foreign military sales funds earmarked for Saudi Arabia will pay for $605 million of the award, with the rest coming from US government funds, said a statement from Lockheed Martin.

The award comes nearly a year after Lockheed Martin received its first down payment on a $15 billion missile defense system for Saudi Arabia, it added. The THAAD is the primary US deterrent to North Korean rockets from locations in South Korea and Guam and is also been deployed in the UAE, Israel, and Romania.

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