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Airbus and Northrop Grumman unite for UK Military Satellite program bid

Skynet 6A
Photo: Airbus

Airbus and Northrop Grumman have officially signed a Memorandum of Understanding, marking the beginning of a strategic partnership aimed at advancing military satellite communications for the UK’s upcoming Skynet program.

According to a statement from Airbus made on Monday, this collaboration aims to harness the most recent technology while merging the companies’ expertise, knowledge, and capabilities. Airbus will take the lead in the bid, with Northrop Grumman as its partner.

“Partnering with Northrop Grumman will enable us to address the evolving requirements of Britain’s military satellite communications needs, and we believe our joint expertise offers the very best capabilities for the UK, now and in the future,” said Ben Bridge, UK Chairman of Airbus Defense and Space

“This transatlantic collaboration builds on the strong Airbus and Northrop Grumman relationship and further unites UK, European and American interests in space,” he added.

Airbus’s involvement in the UK’s Skynet program dates back to 1974. In July 2020, the company secured a contract worth over £500 million for the development, manufacture, cyber protection, assembly, integration, testing, and launch of Skynet 6A, a military communications satellite scheduled for launch in 2025.

In February of this year, the UK’s Ministry of Defense awarded Babcock a six-year contract worth more than £400 million to manage and operate the UK military’s Skynet satellite communications system, a critical asset that provides essential information to UK and allied forces worldwide, ensuring a battlefield information advantage. This contract is a key component of the MOD’s £6 billion Skynet 6 program, ensuring space-based communications support until 2041 and beyond.