Airbus Defence & Space (DS) has been awarded the Maritime Network Evolution contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), worth £36 million, covering the communications networks of 20 Royal Navy warships, including Type 45 destroyers and QUEEN ELIZABETH-class carriers, upgraded over the next four years.
This solution creates the Internet Protocol (IP) backbone of the future Maritime Architecture and extends the life of the military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) well into the middle of the next decade. It will remove obsolete equipment, remove the dependency of serial services and allow platforms to have the ability to select their own communication bearers for operations. This programme has been achieved without having to compromise any of the key military requirements needed by our Royal Navy warships to defend against any major threat scenario, whilst keeping them at the forefront of modern technology.
“For more than a decade now we have provided the UK with Maritime Communications capability. With this evolution programme we continue delivering the most advanced capabilities possible to the Royal Navy,” Richard Franklin, Head of Secure Communications, Airbus DS, said. “This programme is an example of how efficient Airbus DS is working with the UK MOD to refresh existing technologies, keeping the infrastructure up to date and providing future proof and engineer enhanced solutions.”
In similar news, Airbus DS is delivering SATCOM to the UK Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows tour of the Asia-Pacific and Middle East, which will include more than 20 flying displays. The 12 HAWK T1s of the Red Arrows based at RAF Scampton will be performing displays and a series of flypasts throughout October and November 2016. The Skynet constellation will provide all assured voice and data communications throughout the tour, primarily through the newly relocated SKYNET 5A satellite, and the Airbus DS managed anchor station in Adelaide, Australia, which was opened in May 2016, in partnership with SpeedCast.
Airbus DS announced the successful completion of the 67,000km move of the SKYNET 5A satellite from 6° East to 95° East in September 2015. The relocation was initiated to extend the SKYNET constellation’s coverage and services from 115 West to 163 East, including the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific region. With the move complete, the SKYNET network offers global military X-band and UHF coverage, expanding core service reach for the UK military and augmenting coalition capabilities in the region.
Airbus DS owns and operates the hardened SKYNET X-band satellite constellation of eight satellites and the ground network to provide all Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications to the UK MoD. The contract also allows other NATO and allied governments such as members of the five-eyes community (besides UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada) to use the SKYNET system to augment their existing services.