British armed forces use new sat-com network

LONDON, England, 21 March 2005. The groundbreaking Skynet 5 PFI programme, which will deliver the next generation of military satellite communications services to support U.K. peacekeeping and military operations, has entered service on schedule with the armed forces.

LONDON, England, 21 March 2005. The groundbreaking Skynet 5 PFI programme, which will deliver the next generation of military satellite communications services to support U.K. peacekeeping and military operations, has entered service on schedule with the armed forces.

Skynet 5, which is on time and budget, has identified substantial savings as a result of the PFI approach and is employing around 1900 people across the U.K. In overall value for money terms, it saves around four percent � approximately 100 million pounds -- of the lifetime costs of a conventional acquisition, while providing the same capability and greater flexibility.

At least two new satellites are due to be launched towards the end of the decade, with the majority of satellite construction is being done at Stevenage and Portsmouth.

Satellite communications are essential to support all aspects of modern military operations. They provide secure and flexible communications for maritime, air and land forces -- much used in Op Telic.

Skynet 5 is on track to provide very advanced and flexible Satcoms for U.K. Armed Forces with capacity expected to be about 2.5 times greater than the existing system. Users can send and receive information much more quickly.

Paradigm Secure Communications, which provides the service to the MoD, will be responsible for maintaining capacity and is expected to launch at least two new satellites later this decade. Skynet 5 will provide continuity of Satcom provision to the U.K. forces to meet both the high capacity long haul communications needs and the expected growth in traffic from 2005 to 2018. The satellites will be controlled from the U.K. and the service management will take place from a MoD site in Wiltshire.

Skynet 5 will deliver military satellite communication services to the Armed Forces until 2018.

The solution will use satellite links provided by commercial operators to supplement military satellites. These links are already used today, and will continue to be used to enhance the service that can be provided by the military satellites -- when communications do not require robust links. The seamless integration of commercial services is thus considered as an enhancement to, and not a diminution of capability. It is one of the strengths of this deal.

Satcom will in future be delivered to users as a complete service. The Service Provider is able to view the business as an end-to-end service because Skynet 5 will include the satellites, ground stations, and user terminals. This will offer considerable business advantage, including the reduction of integration risk.

"Skynet 5 is an excellent example of service delivery and innovative, 'smart' acquisition. We are providing our military personnel with the very best communication services and have delivered the capability on time and made substantial savings in cost," said Lord Bach, Minister for Defence Procurement.

"The deal has been built on effective partnering and demonstrates how well the MoD and industry can work together under the Private Finance Initiative to deliver the best services for the Armed Forces. I am also delighted to note the substantial amount of work being carried out on the ground breaking programme by British industry with some 1900 jobs being created or supported by the project."

For more information, see www.mod.uk or www.paradigmsecure.com.

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