Airbus has won UK ministry of defence contract to replace the current Skynet 5 network military satellite communications capability with new Skynet 6A satellite.
The British Ministry of Defence said it opted for the noncompetitive route with Airbus, in part, to maintain domestic space capabilities, DefenseNews reported Monday.
“The MoD intends to award Airbus Defence and Space the single source contract for the manufacture, assembly, integration, test and launch of a Skynet 6A geostationary military communications satellite,” said a department spokesman.
The new satellite is expected to be operational by mid-2025.
Airbus built four Skynet 5 spacecraft that were launched between 2007 and 2012 as part of a 20 year, £3.6 billion (U.S. $4.7 billion) private finance initiative (PFI) with the British MoD to acquire and operate the platforms and ground stations.
The extended PFI deal is due to expire in 2022 when the satellites and ground infrastructure are handed over to the MoD by Airbus in exchange for a pound.
The Skynet 6 program is packaged into three elements: the stopgap spacecraft to be built by Airbus, a service delivery package to manage ground operations from 2022 and an enduring capability program to provide future communication system capacity beyond the end of the next decade.
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