Airbus Defence and Space announced this week that it is moving the SkyNet 5A military satellite to the Asia Pacific region to extend its coverage in this area. The move will provide worldwide coverage for the first time. The SkyNet 5 constellation of eight is operated on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence by Airbus Defence and Space. SkyNet 5A has begun its planned 67,000 km move and will reach its new location in the autumn. It will expand the capability to provide protected and secure military satcom services to allied governments in the Asia-Pacific region. It will also mark the first time that the satellite will not be visible from the UK.

[ismember]The move from 6° East to 94.8 °East will expand the constellation’s coverage in the Asia-Pacific region. The satellite will be on station at its new location in the autumn this year. The relocation will extend the Skynet constellation coverage and services from 178 West to 163 East, including the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific region. This will provide global military X-band and UHF coverage, expanding core service reach for the UK military and augment coalition capabilities in the region.

Allied nations, for example the five-eyes community (UK, USA, Australia, NZ, Canada), NATO and other governments operating in the region, will be able to access high grade resilient and secure communications services to enhance humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.

Airbus Defence and Space owns and operates the hardened Skynet X-band satellite constellation of 8 satellites and the ground network to provide all Beyond Line of Sight (BLOS) communications to the UK Ministry of Defence. The contract also allows other NATO and allied governments to use the Skynet system to augment their existing services. Airbus Defence and Space currently leases the X-band hosted payload on Telesat’s Anik G1 satellite which covers the Americas and parts of the Pacific including Hawaii and Easter Island.[/ismember]

“The Skynet 5 constellation consists of the world’s most powerful, nuclear hardened and protected, military X-band and UHF satellites,” said Colin Paynter, Head of Airbus Defence and Space UK. “With the move of Skynet 5A, we will expand the availability of our premium secure MILSATCOM services to allied nations in the region who need high grade resilient and secure communications services to complement their existing systems.”