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Babcock awarded contract to operate Skynet – the UK Ministry of Defence’s military satellite comms

Babcock International Group Plc, the defence company, is pleased to announce it has been awarded the contract to manage and operate Skynet, the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) military satellite communications system.

The six-year contract, commencing in March 2023, has an initial value of more than £400 million and forms part of the MOD’s £6 billion Skynet 6 programme, sustaining more than 400 jobs in the south-west of the UK. Skynet Service Delivery Wrap (Skynet SDW) will encompass the operation of the UK’s constellation of military satellites and ground stations, including the integration of terminals into the MOD network, ensuring they are integrated and supported.


Babcock will partner with SES, GovSat and Intelsat on Skynet SDW.


David Lockwood, CEO for Babcock, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to support this world-leading technological safeguard. Skynet enables vital communications to the UK Armed Forces wherever they are, helping to keep them safe. Babcock is a world leader in secure communications for the military. Together with our partners, we will provide a high-tech solution which combines the availability, affordability and capability that the UK needs.”


Alex Chalk, Defence Procurement Minister, said: “Space is increasingly important for maintaining battlefield advantage. The UK’s next generation military satellite communications system will keep us at the forefront of this critical domain and the work under this contract will bolster our resilience for years to come.”


The Skynet constellation has been in service since the 1960s – with the first sixth generation Skynet satellite, Skynet 6A, set to be launched in 2025.


The contract includes the services necessary to support the current Skynet infrastructure, as well as the successful transition and continuous delivery of service for future Skynet operations. Babcock and its partners bring the stability, knowledge, and pedigree of a proven service provider with the leading commercial and military satellite operators to utilise the best-in-class solutions the industry has to offer.


Backed by its unique, collective international experience across defence and satcom operations, the partnership will provide a low risk, uninterrupted service which brings an assured end-to-end approach for the MOD. Its one-team ethos integrates the customer, partners, and supply chain to deliver an adaptable, agile and supportable service delivery solution.

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