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Airbus begins Skynet 6A production

12th October 2021 - 12:52 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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UK defence procurement minister Jeremy Quin (right, pictured with Airbus Defence and Space CEO Mike Schoellhorn) starts production of the Skynet 6A military SATCOM platform for the MoD. (Photo: Airbus)

Next-generation UK military SATCOM platform is ‘on track for launch in 2025’, says government minister.

Production of the first aluminium panel skin for the Skynet 6A military communications satellite began on 11 October at the Airbus facility in Stevenage, in a ceremony attended by Jeremy Quin, UK minister for defence procurement.

Secure military SATCOM is ‘vital for our ability to conduct operations on a global scale’, said Quin.

‘Seeing the first hardware for the next-generation Skynet 6A satellite shows we are on track for launch in 2025 and ready to upgrade and enhance the UK’s global military communications network.’

Airbus was awarded the contract by the UK MoD to design and build Skynet 6A in July 2020 and the programme achieved its Preliminary Design Review in December that year.

The design of the 6t satellite is based on the Airbus Eurostar Neo telecommunications spacecraft.

Richard Franklin, MD of Airbus Defence and Space, noted that the company is looking at ‘future export opportunities which will benefit the wider space ecosystem’, while it is also ‘actively engaged with bringing on board a wider spread of UK SMEs to deliver this essential sovereign capability’.

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