UAE’s global satellite operator Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat) has contracted Airbus to develop a next-generation mobile telecommunications system.

The Thuraya 4-NGS system is an enhancement of Thuraya’s L-band business.

The system will offer next-generation mobility solutions for all customer segments, including defence, government and enterprise across Europe, Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East.

It is scheduled for operation in 2024.

Airbus Space Systems head Jean-Marc Nasr said: “Building on a relationship with Yahsat that dates back more than ten years, our selection is testament to the innovation and engineering excellence of Airbus’ geostationary satellites.

“Thuraya 4-NGS, as well as being electric, will also benefit from our latest processed payload technology giving increased flexibility and adaptability over the course of its life in orbit.

“Yahsat’s new project reinforces Airbus Defence and Space’s position as the world’s number one in electric propulsion satellites.”

Yahsat’s commitment will strengthen its position across many strategic product lines such as maritime, IoT, and data solutions.

It will strengthen Thuraya’s position in the MSS voice market with broad throughput capabilities and greater speeds.

Yahsat has already invested more than $500m and is also planning to inject more funds in the coming years.

It also has an option for an additional Airbus Thuraya 5-NGS.

Earlier this year, satellite operator Arabsat contracted Airbus to build a new generation telecommunications satellite, BADR-8.