Irish providers win naval satellite service contract

Business | Mon 13 Jul | Author – Business & Finance
Irish Naval Service contract
Pictured (L-R): Rory Fitzpatrick, CEO, National Space Centre; Mr Simon Coveney TD, Minister of Defence, Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Commodore Hugh Tully, flag officer Commanding Naval Service; and John Makarus, operations director, Voyager IP

Defence Minister Simon Coveney signalled the start of the new satellite communications service to the Irish naval fleet by National Space Centre and Voyager IP, the first all-Irish providers to win the contract.

Irish groundstation, National Space Centre Ltd (NSC) and Voyager IP, the Wicklow-based marine telecoms solution specialists, were awarded the €500,000 Naval Service contract earlier this year, and will now jointly manage the entire satellite communications service for the Irish Naval Fleet at home and abroad. The fleet will total eight ships.

The new satellite network infrastructure has been configured and new equipment installed across the Irish Naval Fleet, with the exception of the LE Eithne which is currently stationed in the Mediterranean where it is assisting in search and rescue operations. The Irish Naval Service has been using satellite communications systems for operational and non-operational purposes for 10 years but up until now, by necessity, it had been managed by overseas providers.

Defence Minister Simon Coveney said: “It’s great to see Irish companies competing for and winning a contract like this. I wish them well for the future.”

Flag Officer Commanding Naval Service, Commodore Hugh Tully commented: “The Irish Naval Service is delighted to team up with Irish providers for such a vital part of our infrastructure for seagoing communications.”

NSC chief executive Rory Fitzpatrick added: “The provision of satellite communications services to the Irish Naval Service is an exciting contract for National Space Centre. Our location as Europe’s most northerly and most westerly teleport on the Atlantic frontier provides a strategic advantage to our maritime nation. We have invested significantly in developing maritime surveillance and earth observation capacity at Elfordstown Earthstation and look forward to working with the Irish Naval Service.”

Mark Elliott, managing director of Voyager IP, said: “The provision of satellite broadband services at sea is very different from that on land, it’s technically far more challenging as the user is always moving. We saw a gap in the market for a quality full service marine communications provider and set up Voyager IP to meet that demand. We operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year looking after our clients worldwide.”

Voyager IP is based in Wicklow and specialises in maritime satellite communications solutions and support for superyachts, cruise ships, commercial vessels and offshore platforms globally. Voyager IP is providing the satellite airtime, technical assistance for the onboard systems and a 24-hour helpdesk to the Irish Navy.