Aug 6, 2018
Thales, Airbus Are in Talks to Build Spain's New Spy Satellites
Spain’s industry ministry last week approved a 750 million-euro ($880 million) loan for Hisdesat to finance the replacement satellites while the defense ministry is ready to pay 1.4 billion euros over a period of 15 years from 2023 as the new satellites’ most important client.
The satellites will have resilience to nuclear events and interference, and will comply with NATO and EU requirements.
Hisdesat’s biggest investor is satellite operator Hispasat SA with 43 percent and the Spanish defense ministry has 30 percent, according to the company’s website. Airbus Defense & Space has a 15 percent stake, while Indra Sistemas SA and Sener are smaller equity holders. The company’s biggest customers after Spain are the U.S. State Department and the Pentagon.
Hisdesat is putting in place a new generation of satellites at a time when Spain is leading the development of an EU-wide command system that will allow troops from the bloc to communicate without relying on third-party contractors or local capabilities. It’s also heading up a project to pool government satellites that could also contribute to the new system.