IRIS²: European Commission launches invitation to tender for industry

Source: European Commission

The Commission launches an invitation to tender to procure a concession contract to implement the EU satellite constellation called IRIS² (Infrastructure for Resilience, Interconnectivity and Security by Satellite). The public-private partnership between the Commission and the private sector will ensure common investment into the design, development, deployment and operation of governmental and commercial infrastructure and its use.

This tender is the first step towards the concrete implementation of IRIS², which will benefit from a contribution from the EU budget of EUR 2.4 billion.

The Commission is looking forward to receiving proposals of the whole array of the European industrial ecosystem, from well-established European industries to dynamic SMEs and newcomers. The proposals will be evaluated during a competitive dialogue in view of a contract signature by the beginning of 2024. The provision of full operational capability for governmental services is foreseen in 2027.

The primary objective of IRIS² is to provide Member States with guaranteed access to highly secure, sovereign, and global connectivity services that match their operational needs such as protection of critical infrastructure, surveillance, and support for external action or crisis management as well as military applications. The security of these communications will be based on advanced encryption technologies, including quantum cryptography.

IRIS² will also contribute to the EU’s digital transition and to EU’s Global Gateway Strategy and represents a giant leap for EU’s resilience and technological sovereignty. It aims at enabling the provision of a commercial infrastructure to provide high-speed broadband and seamless connectivity in the EU and also in the geographical areas of strategic interest beyond the European borders, such as the Arctic region and Africa.

The current geopolitical context demonstrates how crucial space-based sovereign and secure communication services are in times of crises. This ambition can only be achieved by combining the driving force of the public sector and the know-how of the private sector.



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