SKYNET 6 programme gets spending boost

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has announced the first step towards upgrading the UK’s military satellite communications system, SKYNET.

Speaking at the DSEi conference, Wallace outlined a vision for defence, highlighting the UK’s decisive contribution to the fight against ISIS and RFA Mounts Bay’s role providing critical humanitarian relief in response to Hurricane Dorian.

Having been told that the department will receive an extra £2.2 billion as part of the recent Spending Round, the Ministry of Defence has outlined plans to invest in new capabilities across all five warfighting domains – land, sea, air, cyber and space.

The upgraded system could be used to facilitate the transmission of secure communications from a ship at sea, support Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) operations, allow fighter jet pilots to receive or upload operational data in real-time, or enable land forces to conduct missions in remote environments.

Wallace said: “Fifty years ago Britain put its first satellite, SKYNET1, in space. Today we’re having to deal with increasing threats to satellite-based navigation and the need for robust communications has never been more vital. That’s why we’re developing SKYNET6 which will give our forces unparalleled capacity to talk to each other in any hostile environment.”

It is also expected that further contracts, covering other aspects of the SKYNET 6 programme, worth approximately £6 billion, will be announced in the coming months.


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