has been awarded a series of contracts during the first quarter of 2021 from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) both as part of its continuing programme of upgrading and enhancing services for the Skynet 5 military satcom services contract, and continued work with the MoD’s Defence Digital organisation.
Activities in the Maritime domain include introducing further quality of service improvements for Maritime Network Evolution (MNE) services to enable continued Wi-Fi access for deployed personnel while on operations. Airbus has also completed a series of baseband upgrades and improvements for eight SCOT5 FMT ships.
Focusing on the land domain, Airbus has recently had a significant order placed for its Bracer service from the UK MoD. Designed by Airbus partner QinetiQ, the Bracer device and service can operate in harsh environments to provide end-to-end encrypted beyond line of sight (BLOS) capabilities.
Together with broadband provider Ovzon, Airbus has achieved a ‘first type of sale’ to deliver the T5 terminal, a compact laptop sized on-the-pause terminal and satellite service to the MoD. Airbus has also recently unveiled team ICELUS, which will focus on the upcoming System Integrator (SI) opportunity for the British Army’s future tactical communication programme, LE TacCIS. The company is also providing fibre broadband and infrastructure services to the MoD’s Abbey Wood headquarters.
Meanwhile, Airbus has agreed a contract to provide Ku-band airtime for the Poseidon P8 maritime patrol aircraft as they enter service, as well as renewals to provide continued Ku-band airtime support for the UK Reaper UAV - highlighting Airbus’ continued support to the RAF.
Focused on a customer partnership approach, Airbus selects the best available solutions to provide the most effective, resilient and cost-efficient connectivity to combine commercial off the shelf equipment, airtime and support services to the front line commands and end users.
SMEs continue to be a strong part of the Airbus ecosystem, together with partner Hereford-based GRC Ltd, Airbus has contracted, delivered, trained and deployed an extensive range of terminal services to the end user. Tactical satcom soluton
The company also continues to work with GRC to deliver a tactical satcom solution that provides end–to-end communications in any eventuality in a single logical network.
Richard Budd, head of secure communications UK and US, at Airbus Defence and Space, said: “These latest services and hardware upgrades are part of the fundamental philosophy behind Skynet 5 – to continually provide the customer with innovative solutions, enabling them to stay at the forefront of expertise and technology.
“In keeping with our partnership approach we work with UK SMEs to fulfill the contracts, further developing the UK space ecosystem and providing value for money for the taxpayer.”
The Skynet 5 programme, managed by Airbus, has provided the UK MoD with a suite of highly robust, reliable and secure military communications services, supporting operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans. The programme commenced by using the legacy Skynet 4 satellites and then augmenting them with a fully refurbished ground network before launching the Skynet 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D satellites between 2007 and 2012.
Through the many years of Airbus delivering a reliable Skynet service, the programme has reduced or removed many of the technical and service risks for the MoD, while ensuring unrivalled secure satellite communications to UK forces delivering both operational and information advantage at the greatest time of need.
Looking to the future, the UK’s space industry leader Airbus, has teamed with KBR, Leidos UK, Northrop Grumman and QinetiQ to bring new thinking to future space solutions and to launch the Open Innovation – Space initiative, to further increase SME involvement in UK future satellite communications services and space activities creating high value jobs and growth around the UK.
Open Innovation – Space will look to significantly raise this SME engagement to accelerate regional recovery by broadening potential investment in novel solutions and ideas.