NATO is to address an emerging shortfall in its satellite communications capabilities by using spare capacity on three national systems, the organisation said on 5 May.

NATO has rejected a US proposal to deliver services in the SHF and UHF frequency bands and it says that the three-nation solution that has been promoted by France, Italy and the UK offers a more inexpensive solution.

Although the deal's exact value has not been disclosed, it is expected to total in the region of €450 million ($545 million) over a 15-year period.

Spare capacity on the European nations' respective Syracuse, Sicral and Skynet 4/5 constellations will be allocated to the organisation between 2005 and 2019 under the deal, which will "give NATO a far greater satellite capacity to support its increasing commitment to deployable forces", it says.

NATO currently has two alliance-owned communications satellites, but says these are nearing the end of their useful lives.

Source: Flight International