Satellite Monitoring

Thanks to falling charges and to end devices that by now have become nearly as small as a mobile telephone, satellite communications have become far more widespread. The importance of monitoring these communication paths to state security bodies has grown to the same extent. Rheinmetall Defence is one of the world's leading suppliers of systems for satellite communications reconnaissance.

Our systems allow security authorities to monitor satellite communications channels passively, promptly and comprehensively, including the subsequent evaluation of content and filtering.

From very small, tactical systems to powerful, strategic full acquisition systems, Rheinmetall offers turnkey solutions for the fully passive detection and evaluation of traffic on the Inmarsat, Thuraya, and VSAT satellite networks.

For in-depth analysis of intercepted satellite mass-data streams, Rheinmetall provides highly optimized software packages for automatic processing, filtering and evaluation of communication contents, network structures and location data.

Our portfolio includes solutions for:


The Thuraya satellite communication system allows mobile speech and data communication in 140 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, thereby covering an area in which two thirds of the world's population live. The terminals are scarcely larger than conventional GSM mobile phones. In addition to speech, fax and data communication, they also offer determination of position through the inbuilt GPS unit. Some Thuraya terminals can even communicate in the Thuraya network as well as in the GSM network.

Strategic Thuraya C/L-Band Interception System ARES

For the strategic monitoring of traffic on the Thuraya network, RDE offers a powerful, 100% passive solution with a modular structure - the ARES system. The combination of a high number of channels (even the basic version includes 102 L-band and 136 C-band channels) with powerful analytical software, including effective filtering options, allows Thuraya satellite connections to be monitored both comprehensively and selectively.

Thanks to the seamless integration of the assemblies, even a full interception system consists of no more than two 19'' racks. Customers benefit from the low power consumption, small footprint, and the low costs needed for servicing and spare parts. In areas where the telecommunication infrastructure is poor, such as in Afghanistan for example, a large number of conversations are carried out directly between two Thuraya terminals (known as Thuraya-to-Thuraya conversations). The network either connects these conversations directly (single-hop, i.e. a short delay) or via the gateway in Sharjah (double-hop, involving a longer delay). In either case, the ARES system is able to monitor the conversations and assign them appropriately, without the need to use a spot beam sensor.

Thuraya-IP Interception System HERAKLES

The demand for broadband connections continues to rise. For this purpose, Thuraya is offering the Thuraya IP service. Using a compact satellite modem it allows e-mailing and fast Internet surfing at up to 444 kbps throughout Thuraya's coverage region.

In order to maintain surveillance of this traffic, Rheinmetall is offering Thuraya packet-switched IP interception solution both as stand-alone system HERAKLES and as modular extension to existing Thuraya circuit-switched ARES interception systems for voice, sms and low-speed data.

Remote L-Band Spotbeam Sensor ARGOS

The strategic system ARES can be supplemented with additional ARGOS remote spotbeam sensors for L-Band monitoring of other areas beyond the range of the stationary system. Call recordings of the spotbeam sensors are merged with those from the strategic site, recreating the full duplex call content. The ARGOS sensors are very small and can be easily integrated into small vehicles, buildings, vessels or containers.

Tactical Thuraya L/L-Band Interception System ARTEMIS

The ARTEMIS tactical system is optimised for covert L-Band-only Thuraya interception operations close to the target area. Intercepted information can be monitored and evaluated in real time. The cascading option allows the channel capacity to be adapted flexible to specific requirements. Because the base unit is extremely small in size and low in weight, the device can even be carried on the body.


Inmarsat, which was originally created to increase marine safety, uses a system of 11 geostationary satellites to cover the entire globe, with the exception of the polar caps, providing powerful mobile telephone and data services.

It is the oldest satellite communication system. With modernised services, it remains the world's most widely used. Users here make use of terminals with mobile implementations as portable desktop systems, or fitted into vehicles, ships and aircrafts.

A wide range of special services is available. Roughly speaking, they can be classified as voice, fax and data services. Nowadays these are provided through 4 Inmarsat F3 satellites, whose coverage guarantees that the services are available right across the continents. Additional spot beam zones also permit the use of smaller transmitting and receiving antennas.

Strategic Inmarsat Interception System MARS

MARS is a powerful, modular system for the passive interception and evaluation of all the usual Inmarsat services: Inmarsat B and B-HSD, C, M, M4 and M4-HSD, Mini M, GAN and Swift 64, Fleet F33-77 and MPDS. Participant-oriented surveillance is appropriate due to the structure of these services and the protocols they use. MARS can be configured in a very flexible way for the different services to be monitored.

Inmarsat Isat Phone, IsatPhone Pro and ACeS

Inmarsat's newest IsatPhone Pro service provides low-cost voice, sms and data services for the mass-market. Using Inmarsat's 3 latest-generation I-4 satellites the service offers global coverage (only except for the polar caps) and reliable network access based on GMR2+ protocol. The IsatPhone Pro handsets provide robust design, exceptional speech quality and long battery operation time.

In addition the predecessor services IsatPhone and ACeS using GMR2 protocal are also supported via Inmarsat's I-4 and ACeS GARUDA-1 satellites.

Strategic C/L-Band Intercepllon System APOLLO

With the APOLLO system RDE is offering its next-generation modular system for the strategic surveillance of IsatPhone, IsatPhone Pro and ACeS traffic. Both space and current requirements have been be further reduced through the use of even higher integrated FPGA and DSP processorS. Even a full interception system for all IsatPhone Pro channels currently in use only requires a single 19" rack. The evaluation system is implemented on the basis of the Thuraya solution. It can therefore use multiple sensors, and is able to correlate the data from different sensors.

Remote L-Band Spotbeam Sensor VICTORIA

The strategic system APOLLO can be supplemented with additional VICTORIA remote spotbeam sensors for L-Band monitoring of other areas beyond the range of the stationary system. Call recordings of the spot beam sensors are merged with those from the strategie site, recreating the full duplex call content. The VICTORIA sensors are very small and can be easily integrated into small vehicles, buildlngs, vessels or containers.

Tactical IsatPhone Pro L/L-Band Interception System CERES

The CERES tactical system is optimised for covert L-Band-Only IsatPhone Pro interception operations close to the target area. Information can be monitored and evaluated in real time. The extreme compact and lightweight design enables man-portable operations and easy integration into vehicles or airborne platforms. Optionally, CERES can also be linked as highly-mobile remote spot beam to a strategic APOLLO system.


VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) systems have long been available for satellite communication. The diameter of a typical terminal antenna has now come down to approx <90 cm. VSAT systems are especially preferred over mobile satellites communication system wherever the high mobility of extremely small units or handsets does not play a crucial role. This includes, for instance, ship and aircraft communication, as well as local access to the Internet in areas where access facilities are poor. The advantages of VSAT communication here are, in particular, the high bandwidth coupled with relatively low operating costs.

The use of VSAT communication for data transmission and for interactive use of the Internet continues to rise (VoIP, video, e-mail, fax), and therefore makes reconnaissance more and more interesting for state security organisations.

DVB-S/S2 - RCS System THOR

The standard DVB-S and DVB-S2 technologies have become established for the channel to the user (the forward link), while the DVB-RCS standard has achieved greater acceptance for the channel from the user (the return link), in both civil and military systems. Rheinmetall therefore offers a telecommunication monitoring system for this VSAT traffic. Further software developments for the interception of other VSAT communication services will follow.

  • Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH

    Product Unit Defence electronics

    Brüggeweg 54
    28309 Bremen
    Phone: +49 421 457-01
    Fax: +49 421 457-2900