Britain has unveiled a major defense space strategy where the country’s air force would be responsible for “command and control” of the nation’s space missions, aiming to safeguard UK operations against “emerging space-based threats”.
Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has vowed to bring the number of specialists working in the country’s defense space sector to 600 which is a 20- percent jump from what Britain currently has, the ministry said in a release Monday during first ever UK Defence Space Conference.
“Satellite technology is not just a crucial tool for our armed forces but vital to our way of life, whether that be access to our mobile phones, the internet or television,” Gavin Williamson stated.
“It is essential we protect our interests and assets from potential adversaries who seek to cause major disruption and do us harm,” he added.
The new Strategy, expected in the summer, will set out plans to protect UK operations against emerging space-based threats such as jamming of civilian satellites used for broadcasters and satellite navigation to support military capabilities
The new strategy will also assess Britain’s contribution to the Galileo program for a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) that is being created by the European Union, and to see how UK companies could benefit from developing an alternative system in what Gavin Williamson has described as “a crucial area.”
“With the launch of this strategy, we are setting our aspirations much higher, to ensure that our industry continues to benefit from this growth in satellite technology,” Defense Minister Guto Bebb said during the Defense Space Conference in London on Monday.
“We are investing millions into Britain’s most innovative companies to help us launch forward in the space domain,” he added.
Speaking at the conference, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hiller said: “I am determined to ensure that the RAF’s leadership of military space operations transforms our ability to address the growing threats and hazards. In doing this, it is essential that we work jointly across Defence and with partners cross Government and internationally”.
The Defence Space Strategy will examine how the British space sector can work with the country’s allies across NATO and the five-eyes partnership to protect and defend mutual space interests, the release added.