7 November 2013 – London (Global MilSatCom 2013) – Astrium, the world’s second-ranking space company, is now delivering to the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) enhanced overseas tactical, land and maritime communications capability which directly links to Astrium Services’s new IP core based modular infrastructure.
This capability allows UK Armed Forces to securely connect their users to one core defence infrastructure – supporting all voice and data traffic with encryption from tactical, land and maritime operations across the globe – rather than having to recreate a network of services. Astrium Services provides a flexible and scalable environment that can cost-effectively accommodate all expected connectivity needs.
Astrium Services is delivering the first two DMM (Deployable Maritime Milsat) SCOTPatrol terminals, which feature reduced top-weight and a compact footprint both above and below deck for easier integration on small vessels. These terminals will enable IP based communication onboard smaller Royal Navy ships, including Mine Counter Measure Vessels on operations in the Arabian Gulf. The SCOTPatrol next generation naval satellite communications terminal, along with all of the baseband equipment, allow the vessels to fully integrate into the network via Skynet 5’s resilient and hardened X-band satcoms. Further terminals are on order and are being delivered during the next year.
To meet the UK Armed Forces land and tactical requirements, Astrium Services is delivering 25 Mantis terminals and lightweight “Snapper” baseband equipment to the UK MOD as part of a managed service package. A small IP node service – which has enabled a switch over to IP baseband – covers X-band on Skynet 5, a Mantis terminal and “Snapper” baseband for an advanced lightweight and resilient communications capability for remote users overseas.
To meet the requirements of large deployed land forces or air bases with multiple users, fixed and transportable IP Domains nodes are available. The first two overseas bases to be equipped are on order for delivery early next year.
“These service deliveries ensure that maritime, land and air units from the UK Armed Forces have the best capability for secure communications by guaranteeing secure voice and data access to our forces on the frontline while using lightweight and IP based equipment”, said Colin Paynter, Executive Director Government Communications at Astrium Services.
“These services are important steps in the Skynet programme, which started 10 years ago and has become an example of just how effectively industry can work with the MOD in an on-going service delivery programme,” Mr. Paynter added. “Astrium Services continuously works with the UK Armed Forces to develop and deliver these types of services within short time frames as part of a long-term stable contract.”
Services offered as part of the Skynet 5 contract also cover training, spares/maintenance support, assurance monitoring and reporting, as well as 24/7 customer services and more.
Through the Skynet programme, Astrium Services operates the Skynet military satellite constellation and the ground network to provide all Beyond Line of Sight communications to the UK MOD. The programme, covering a 22-year period, has also enabled Astrium Services to provide Skynet-based communication services to other government institutions including the UK Cabinet Office and armed forces from other nations such as The Netherlands and Portugal, and also to NATO.