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Babcock wins £400 million contract to operate Skynet MILSATCOM system

UK company Babcock has been awarded a six-year, £400 million ($720 million) contract to manage and operate Skynet 6, the UK MOD’s Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) system. The contract is expected to support 400 jobs.

The contract forms part of the MOD’s £6 billion Skynet 6 Program. As part of the £400 million Skynet Service Delivery Wrap (SDW) contract, Babcock and their partners will operate and manage the UK MOD’s constellation of military satellites and ground stations and integrate new user terminals.

Skynet operations deliver connectivity to UK and allied forces around the world, whether on the battlefield, onboard a ship or in the air.

The SDW contract is part of the wider Skynet 6 programme which will provide space-based communications to 2041 and beyond.

The UK’s Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk KC said, “Space is increasingly important for maintaining battlefield advantage. The UK’s next generation military satellite communications system will keep us at the forefront of this critical domain and the work under this contract will bolster our resilience for years to come.

“Providing low risk, uninterrupted services necessary to support the current Skynet 5 infrastructure, the partnership will also support the successful transition of services for future Skynet operations.”

In addition to the SDW contract, the Skynet 6 programme will deliver:

  • Skynet 6A, which comprises manufacturing and launch of the Skynet 6A satellite and is being delivered by Airbus Defence and Space UK
  • Skynet Enduring Capability, which will deliver new space-based technology from 2028 onwards
  • The provision of new ground and user terminal capabilities to ensure that UK war fighters have modern communications technology worldwide
  • A longer-term innovative approach for delivering space-based communications capability to follow on from the SDW contract.

Airbus Defence & Space’s Team Maier has submitted a bid for Australia’s MILSATCOM program, Joint Project 9102, that is based on the Skynet 6 capability. A source selection for this project is expected soon.

Image: Crown Copyright – UK Ministry of Defence

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