Yahsat Commissions Airbus to Build Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 Satellites

Al Yah Satellite Communications Company PJSC (Yahsat), the UAE’s leading satellite solutions provider, announced today its contract with Airbus Defence and Space, a premier satellite manufacturer, for the construction of its new geostationary telecommunications satellites, Al Yah 4 (“AY4”) and Al Yah 5 (“AY5”).

This major development follows the signing of an Authorisation-to-Proceed with Airbus in Q2 2023, initiating preliminary activities for the AY4 and AY5 satellite program.

Airbus will design and build the AY4 and AY5 satellites on the Eurostar Neo platform, which features flexible payloads and benefits from the robust legacy of the Eurostar family. These multi-band payloads can be fully reconfigured in orbit, allowing adjustments to coverage area, capacity, and frequency “on the fly” to adapt to changing mission requirements.

AY4 and AY5 will provide secure governmental communications across a vast geographical area, covering the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Asia. These advanced satellites will eventually replace Al Yah 1 and Al Yah 2, launched in 2011 and 2012 respectively, which were based on an earlier version of the Airbus-built Eurostar platform.

Alain Fauré, Head of Space Systems at Airbus, stated, “Today marks a significant milestone with Yahsat selecting our pioneering fully flexible satellite technology. Sixteen years ago, we signed our first contract with Yahsat, introducing the first sovereign telecommunications satellite to the UAE. Now, our long-standing relationship is advancing with this contract for two Eurostar Neos, further enhancing Yahsat’s in-orbit resources.”

Ali Al Hashemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of Yahsat, added, “We are thrilled to sign this contract with Airbus as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance our satellite communications capabilities with next-generation satellites. This is a crucial step in Yahsat’s growth path. The Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 satellites will provide the UAE Government with cutting-edge solutions. Additionally, these new LEO satellite platforms will support Yahsat’s future direction in offering multi-orbit satellite solutions to its customers.”

Airbus will design and manufacture both the AY4 and AY5 satellites and will also provide components for the ground control segment. Each spacecraft will have a design life of 15 years, with launches planned for 2027 and 2028 respectively.

Airbus is also developing the Thuraya 4 (“T4”) satellite to serve Yahsat’s UAE government customer and Thuraya’s customers. The T4, based on the Eurostar Neo platform, is set to launch in the second half of 2024 and enter service in the second half of 2025.

The development of Airbus’ Eurostar Neo platform and its flexible payloads has been supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) and national space agencies across Europe.

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