Army launches satellite for UK battlefield comms

The British Army has launched the Skynet 5 satellite system to improve broadband communications between British troops and their control centres as part of a £3.2bn PFI deal.

The British Army has launched the Skynet 5 satellite system to improve broadband communications between British troops and their control centres as part of a £3.2bn PFI deal.

The launch took place yesterday in French Guiana, and the satellite is expected to provide flexible satellite communications at a capacity 2.5 times greater than existing systems.

The satellite will eventually be one of three linked satellites providing both faster communication and back-up capacity.

The launch had been planned since the end of 2005, when an extended PFI contract with Paradigm Secure Communications had been signed.

The launch had been delayed for 24 hours due to technical problems, but the satellite is now said to be operating well after launch.

Under the PFI contract, Paradigm Secure Communications will be responsible for maintaining capacity.  The satellites will be controlled from the UK and the service management will take place from an MoD site in Wiltshire.

Comment on this article: computer.weekly@rbi.co.uk

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