Yahsat will have a further two satellites up, likely by 2027 and 2028. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The satellite services company Yahsat has received a Dh18.7 billion lift by way of UAE government contracts, to provide satellite capacity and managed services for a 17-year term.

The win replaces two current contracts Yahsat has with the government - the Capacity Services Agreement and Managed Services Mandate, which were to come to an end in November and December of 2026.

Under the new mandate Yahsat will provide the Government with satellite capacity and related managed services using the Al Yah 1 and Al Yah 2 satellites, which are in orbit, and supplement this through two new satellites, Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5. These are to be launched in 2027 and 2028.

"By complementing our existing fleet with Al Yah 4 and Al Yah 5 next-generation satellites, we will be able to serve the government with cutting-edge solutions that are not currently possible," said Musabbeh Al Kaabi, Chairman. "The performance of the new satellites is expected to significantly surpass current industry capabilities including capacity, coverage and flexibility."

This mandate.. allows us to continue to provide capacity and related services to the UAE Government beyond 2026 using our current satellite fleet. And beyond 2040 on two new satellites, already under construction

- Ali Al Hashemi of Yahsat

Building the new satellites

Last June, Yahsat signed an Authorisation-to-Proceed with Airbus for the AY4 and AY5 satellites. This enables 'certain activities to commence', such as the system requirements review, design work and procurement for long-lead items.

The AY4 and AY5 procurement, including spacecraft, ground segment infrastructure, launch and insurance, will be funded from Yahsat’s own resources - as well as other potential funding options under review.

The award includes an advance payment from the government of $1 billion, which is to be received in 2024.

"Our financial position has never been stronger and we enjoy a contracted revenue backlog of Dh25.7 billion [USD 7.0 billion] or over 16 times annual revenues based on backlog figures at the end of the second quarter," said Ali Al Hashemi, Group CEO. "Representing one of the largest backlog multiples and strongest balance-sheets in the industry, we remain optimistic about providing a broader, more diverse and cutting-edge solutions portfolio to both the government and our customers.”