Manufacturers are bidding to build a series of satellites for the Middle East's Arabsat and Dubai-based Thuraya Satellite Telephone Company.

Arabsat, a communications satellite company formed by 22 Middle Eastern and North African nations, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for satellites to replace those in orbit.

Boeing Space & Communications director Americas, Africa, and the Middle East Sean Del Grosso says it is likely that two satellites will be acquired initially.

Matra Marconi Space (MMS) is also believed to be among the bidders. Riyadh-based Arabsat acquired its earlier craft from MMS and Aerospatiale, with launches using Ariane boosters.

Boeing is also offering a turnkey package to Thuraya, providing the initial satellites and the Hughes Network Systems handsets.

The system uses C and L bands and is controlled from a ground station in Sharjah, another UAE emirate. Itsservice covers around 100 countries.

Source: Flight International