OHB System AG of Germany has signed an €816 million ($1.06 billion) contract with Germany’s defense procurement agency to develop the SARah satellite-based radar reconnaissance system.

SARah aims to provide an enhanced follow-on to Germany’s five-satellite SAR-Lupe constellation, which became fully operational in 2008. Built by OHB System AG, SAR-Lupe, which utilizes one ground station, is slated to retire after November 2017.

Comprising just three satellites and supported by two ground stations, SARah is slated to enter full operational service by the end of 2019. Two of the three spacecraft will be based on reflector technology proved on SAR-Lupe and enhanced for SARah. A third satellite will feature phased-array technology developed by EADS Astrium GmbH, and which is currently flying on Germany’s TerraSAR-X and Tandem-X civil radar satellites.

“By linking these two radar technologies, it will be possible to substantially enhance the efficiency of the overall system,” OHB said in a July 2 statement.

As prime contractor, OHB System will supply the two reflector satellites and main elements of the ground segment. As a subcontractor to OHB, Astrium GmbH will provide the phased-array satellite and related special functions for the ground segment, which will be operational by fall 2016 in preparation for the transition between SAR-Lupe and SARah.