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Airbus secures support contract for Skynet

Airbus has been selected to provide post-design services for the Skynet programme that will help to support the transition from Skynet 5 (pictured) to Skynet 6. (Airbus)

Airbus has been awarded the Skynet Design Support Contract (SDSC) to assist in the future maintenance of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) Skynet satellite communications (satcom) system.

Under the five-year contract starting in March 2024, Airbus will provide post-design services to the MoD and its future service providers to support the transition from Skynet 5 towards an MoD-owned, contractor-operated system under Skynet 6. This includes Skynet 6A, which Airbus is currently developing, the company announced on 27 October.

Airbus will be required to support the satellites and the ground infrastructure as part of SDSC.

Richard Budd, head of secure communications for Australia, UK, and US at Airbus, told Janes in November 2022 that the company would be awarded SDSC because the scope of the contract could only be completed by the original equipment manufacturer.

The contract, which forms part of the Skynet Service Delivery Wrap (SDW) project, will involve Airbus providing “third and fourth line support” to Skynet. Principally, this will encompass carrying out maintenance on the Skynet systems integrated by the company, he said.

Post-design services typically encompass maintaining in-service capabilities and can involve, among other activities, obsolescence management, technical reporting, and modification implementation.

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