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Babcock lands £400M Skynet 6 UK military SATCOM contract

Skynet 6A
Photo: Babcock

The UK defense ministry has awarded Babcock a six-year contract to manage and operate the UK military’s Skynet satellite communications system.

As part of the £400 million (approx. US$481M) Skynet Service Delivery Wrap (SDW) contract, Babcock and their partners will operate and manage the UK MOD’s constellation of military satellites, ground stations and integrate new user terminals.

Skynet operations deliver information to UK and allied forces around the world, enabling a battlefield information advantage.

The six-year contract, with an initial value of more than £400 million, forms part of the MOD’s £6 billion Skynet 6 program, which will provide space-based communications to 2041 and beyond.

Babcock will be partnering with SES, GovSat and Intelsat for work under the contract.

“Space is increasingly important for maintaining battlefield advantage,” Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk KC said.

“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.”

Skynet has been in service since the 1960s – with the first satellite of the sixth Skynet generation satellite, Skynet 6A, set to be launched in 2025. The contract includes the services necessary to support the current Skynet infrastructure, as well as the successful transition and continuous delivery of service for future Skynet operations.

In addition to the SDW contract, the Skynet 6 program will deliver Skynet 6A, which comprises manufacturing and launch of the Skynet 6A satellite and is being delivered by Airbus Defence and Space UK.

Another part of the program will be the “Skynet Enduring Capability,” which will deliver new space-based technology from 2028 onwards.

“We are delighted to have been chosen to support this world-leading technological safeguard. Skynet enables vital communications to the UK armed forces wherever they are, helping to keep them safe,” David Lockwood, Babcock CEO said, said.