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Airbus DS gains Skynet 6A contract

22nd July 2020 - 10:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The UK MoD on 19 July confirmed a £500 million ($637.34 million) contract with Airbus Defence and Space (DS) for the Skynet 6A SATCOM platform.

The satellite will use the new Airbus Eurostar Neo telecommunications satellite platform coupled with electric orbit raising propulsion and station-keeping systems.

As the starting point for the wider Skynet 6 project, Skynet 6A will see Airbus DS in the UK design, manufacture, assemble, integrate and test a geostationary satellite communications platform.

Airbus DS will also launch Skynet 6A in 2025. Completing the work in the UK will ensure Skynet 6A remains a sovereign capability, the MoD stated.

‘The £500 million boost is the latest investment in the technological safeguards that help our Armed Forces deter threats from anywhere in the world, including Russia and China,’ said Ben Wallace, Secretary of State for Defence.

The contract also covers technology development programmes, secure telemetry, tracking and command systems, launch, in-orbit testing and ground segment updates to the existing Skynet 5 system.

Skynet 6A will continue to be controlled from existing ground stations in the UK.

Skynet 6 is designed to replace Skynet 5. The PFI contract for Skynet 5,  held by Paradigm Secure Communications and Airbus DS, ends in 2022. 

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