Major players in Europe’s telecommunications and space sectors formed a consortium targeted at winning a contract to supply the EU’s forthcoming satellite connectivity project IRIS2.

The group is being led by Airbus Defence and Space, Eutelsat, Hispasat, SES and Thales Alenia Space.

It is being billed as an open consortium which also comprises a core team of cross-sector players including Deutsche Telekom and Orange.

The group’s announcement follows a European Commission’s (EC) call for tender for supplying hyped European satellite constellation project IRIS2. The project carries an EU budget of €2.4 billion, with a contribution of €685 million from the European Space Agency.

Financial backing from other parties is expected to bump this much higher, with the EC originally pinning the final figure at €6 billion.

Once complete, IRIS2 is expected to deliver low latency, highly-secure communications services within Europe and areas deemed strategically important to the economic bloc.

In a statement detailing its intent to bid, the consortium noted the aim to “create a state-of-the-art satellite constellation based on a multi-orbit architecture that would be interoperable with the terrestrial ecosystem”.

It claims it will set-up “an integrated best-in-class European space and telecoms team”. In addition to the declared members, it aims to attract start-ups and small- and medium-sized companies to join.