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BAE Delivers Skynet 5 Terminals (Oct. 29)



The first delivery within the boundary of the Skynet 5 project has been achieved only four months after placement by Astrium of a contract with BAE Systems C4ISR.

The first batch of six Talon satellite communications terminals has been delivered to the Paradigm team who then transferred the terminals to MOD, ready for rapid deployment to support out-of-area operations by British Armed Forces. The Paradigm team was selected as preferred bidder for the Skynet 5 programme in February 2002 and is currently working towards final contract signature with the MOD.

This first procurement in the Skynet 5 programme is covered by a contract awarded to BAE Systems C4ISR by Astrium, as the prime contractor to Paradigm for both the Skynet 5 space and ground segments, in July 2002. Fifteen terminals will be supplied in three phases (the second in December 2002 and the third in August 2003). BAE Systems C4ISR's Talon terminals incorporate a range of commercial off-the-shelf components integrated to provide military features such as satellite tracking and the use of defence frequency bands.

Talon terminals, produced by the Christchurch, Communications & Defence Infrastructure Division of BAE Systems C4ISR, were also recently supplied under a separate UK Ministry of Defence contract to support NATO operations.

Colin Paynter, Managing Director, Astrium Ltd. said "By working with BAE Systems and Paradigm, Astrium is delighted to have completed this first Skynet 5 delivery. As prime contractor to Paradigm for the Skynet 5 ground segment, Astrium will provide a further 72 tactical terminals of various types and additional associated communications equipment."

The Paradigm team is led by Paradigm Secure Communications with Astrium and Paradigm Services as principal suppliers. The UK MOD and Paradigm have been working closely together to meet the ambitious timescale of contract award by the end of the year. The innovative PFI (Private Finance Initiative) approach to the delivery of military satellite communications services will initially be implemented through the transfer of the Skynet 4 space and ground segments from the MOD to Paradigm. Scheduled to take place mid 2003, this will be followed by the introduction of the Skynet 5 satellites and ground systems later in the decade. This means that in less than a year, Paradigm will be delivering global secure satellite communications services to both UK and other customers worldwide.

Hilary Mathews, Managing Director, Paradigm Secure Communications said, "Paradigm is pleased to announce that the MOD has received the Talon terminals, marking the first delivery within the boundary of the Skynet 5 programme. This clearly demonstrates one of the major benefits of the Skynet 5 concept which allows new equipment to be delivered into the field at an unprecedented pace."


BACKGROUND NOTES:

Under the Skynet 5 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) programme, the Paradigm team will provide secure satellite communications services to UK Armed Forces around the world until 2018. Worth around £2 billion over nearly 2 decades, this is the largest PFI of its kind.

In choosing this highly flexible and cost effective service provision solution, the MOD retains guaranteed, secure milsatcoms whenever and wherever required, whilst eliminating the risks of managing the space system and benefiting from evolving technologies and increasing capacity.

Paradigm Secure Communications was formed by Astrium in 1999 to address the emerging military satellite communications services market. Paradigm Secure Communications will contract with Paradigm Services for full service delivery and with Astrium for the Skynet 5 satellites and ground systems. Both Paradigm companies will become joint ventures between BAE Systems and EADS, the European Aeronautic Defence & Space company, on contract award.

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First Skynet 5 Deliveries Achieved As MOD Accepts Talon Terminals