Sky’s the Limit for New Military Satellite
(Source: U.K Ministry of Defence; issued March 9, 2010)
Military communications on operations are to further enhanced, thanks to a new £400 million contract to use a new satellite, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, announced today.
The Skynet 5D which is the fourth satellite of its kind to be used by the MoD is roughly three times the length of a double decker bus and will be launched in 2013 playing a key role in gathering intelligence on operations. The satellite will also be used to provide the telephone and internet welfare support facilities for Service personnel on operations.
Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:
“Future operations require that our Armed Forces are given access to the best possible communications and this new satellite will go a long way to ensuring this.
“This value for money package not only builds upon a tried and tested capability for the Armed Forces, but also secures hundreds of jobs in a very important field of technology.”
The build of Skynet 5D will directly create around 100 new jobs, mainly at EADS Astrium’s sites in Portsmouth and Stevenage. It will also sustain approximately 800 jobs at these sites and in Corsham, Wiltshire, at Paradigm's Hawthorn site.
Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation, said:
"The UK's thriving space and satellite industry has been a real recession-buster - creating jobs and achieving exceptional growth. This latest success cements the UK's position as a world leader in satellite technology, with the sector forecast to be worth £40Bn to the UK by 2030."
Darrell Midgley, MOD Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), Information Systems and Services Networks Head, said:
“The demand for satellite communications is growing faster than originally predicted. To ensure that future operations will continue to have access to the vital communications they may need, the MOD has decided to make arrangements to take advantage of the services that a fourth satellite in the Paradigm’s Skynet constellation would provide.”
-- The Skynet 5 contract was placed in 2003 and will continue until at least 2022.
- Under the PFI deal, the MOD is buying satellite services, not the satellites. The overall PFI programme is now worth about £3.5Bn over its planned duration, which will be at least until 2022.
-- The latest contract extension with Paradigm will cost the MOD over £400M which will cover the satellite services provided and will fall within the overall cost of the programme.
- Paradigm are the owners and operators of the satellites and provide the service to the MOD.
-- Paradigm is able to market any unutilised (by MOD) capacity under the important third party sales element of the deal.
-- The Skynet PFI arrangement is with Paradigm Secure Communications Limited. Other companies are Serco, Logica, EADS Astrium and EADS Defence and Security. Paradigm’s parent company is EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space). (ends)
Paradigm Agrees Deal with UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for Fourth Skynet 5 Satellite
(Source: EADS Astrium; issued March 9, 2010)
PORTSMOUTH, England --- Paradigm, a wholly owned subsidiary of Astrium Services, has signed a contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) to extend and enhance the Skynet 5 private finance initiative (PFI) programme. This will involve the manufacture, launch, test and operation of a fourth satellite, Skynet 5D, and the extension of the Skynet 5 contract by two years until 2022.
The contract extension will guarantee UK MoD additional capacity on the Skynet 5 constellation.
Eric Béranger, CEO of Astrium Services said:
“The Skynet 5 programme was a pioneering step in the provision of milsatcoms via a commercial operator. In the past six years we have not only met the exacting requirements of UK MoD, but have also provided a comprehensive and flexible service to allied nations worldwide.
“The demand for a fourth Skynet 5 satellite demonstrates the growing global demand for the services we can offer and proves that we have successfully implemented a truly innovative approach to milsatcom procurement.”
Since 2003, the groundbreaking Skynet 5 programme, managed by Paradigm, has provided UK MoD with a suite of highly robust, reliable and secure military communications services, supporting operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. The programme commenced by using the legacy Skynet 4 satellites and then augmenting them with a fully refurbished ground network before launching the Skynet 5A, 5B, and 5C satellites between 2007 and 2008.
The Skynet 5 PFI programme has been a huge operational success for the UK MoD, and has reduced or removed many of the technical and service risks, whilst ensuring unrivalled secure satcoms to UK forces and the best value for money for UK MoD. Over the past six years, the continued success of the programme has acted as a catalyst for an increase in satcoms usage and the introduction of a fourth satellite will satisfy these increasing future capacity requirements. The extra capacity will ensure that British and allied troops have instant access to the necessary communication resources when and where needed most
The introduction of additional Milsatcom capacity to the Skynet 5 fleet also means that Paradigm will continue to have the ability to address the needs of a growing international Milsatcom market. Since 2003, Paradigm has supported the Milsatcom requirements of NATO, the USA, Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Portugal. The Czech Republic, Slovenia and Norway have also recently signed up to have access to Paradigm’s Skynet capacity.
The introduction of the additional Skynet 5D satellite will increase the communications capability for coalition and allied forces in regional hotspots. Allied nations will have guaranteed access to capacity on 5D, particularly in the UHF frequency band, which is currently in great demand from military forces.
Malcolm Peto, Director of Paradigm said:
“The contract extension for 5D is testament to the strong working partnership we have with UK MoD. Since the inception of the Skynet 5 programme we have been fully committed to providing them with the highest standard of service that has the flexibility, security and reliability they require.
“Skynet 5D demonstrates the success of this programme from both an industrial and military perspective, enabling us to consolidate the service delivery to UK MOD and also to expand the communication capabilities we can offer on a worldwide basis.”
The Skynet 5 system, including the satellites and ground segment, was designed and built by Astrium. The 5D payload is already complete, having been built as a risk reduction of the existing programme ahead of any potential requirement for a fourth Skynet 5 satellite, and work will now begin to complete the 5D satellite, in time for a scheduled launch in 2013. The Skynet 5 satellites are based on Astrium’s highly successful Eurostar E3000 series. When the current Skynet 5 constellation became fully operational in 2008 it was the start of a new era in military communications, using some of the most complex Milsatcom satellites ever built.
The Skynet 5 satellites have the highest powered X-band transponders in orbit, a highly flexible uplink beam configuration, coupled with a world leading anti-jamming antenna to ensure that the constellation is extremely effective against hostile or non-hostile interference. All of the downlink beams are fully steerable and the whole payload is optimized to maximise performance for small, rapidly deployable satellite ground terminals on land, sea or air.
Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2009, Astrium had a turnover of EUR 4.8 billion and more than 15,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment and Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2009, EADS generated revenues of EUR 42.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 119, 000.