The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) will receive new land and maritime X-band satcom terminals from Astrium, designed to enable secure communications during overseas combat operations.

Based on Astrium Services’s new IP core based modular infrastructure, the terminals will help UK Army securely connect users to one core defence infrastructure, which supports all voice and data traffic with encryption from worldwide tactical, land and maritime operations, eliminating the need to recreate a network of services.

Astrium Services will deliver 25 Mantis terminals and lightweight Snapper baseband equipment, as part of a managed service package, to help address the UK Armed Forces’ land and tactical requirements.

In addition, the company will supply the first two deployable maritime milsat (DMM) SCOTPatrol terminals, which will facilitate IP-based communication onboard smaller Royal Navy ships, including mine counter measure vessels on operations in the Arabian Gulf.

Featuring reduced top-weight and a compact footprint both above and below deck for easier integration, the next-generation terminals, along with all of the baseband equipment, helps the ships to fully integrate into the network through Skynet 5’s resilient and hardened X-band satcoms.

Astrium is also delivering fixed and transportable IP domains nodes to meet the requirements of large deployed land forces or air bases with multiple users.

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"These service deliveries ensure that maritime, land and air units from the UK Armed Forces have the best capability for secure communications."

Astrium Services government communications executive director, Colin Paynter, said the deliveries mark significant steps in the Skynet programme, which has become an example of how effectively the industry can work with the MoD in an ongoing service delivery programme.

"These service deliveries ensure that maritime, land and air units from the UK Armed Forces have the best capability for secure communications by guaranteeing secure voice and data access to our forces on the frontline while using lightweight and IP-based equipment,” Paynter said.

Delivery of additional terminals to the Royal Navy and to the first two overseas bases is scheduled to take place in 2014.

Astrium Services operates the Skynet military satellite constellation and ground network to provide all beyond line of sight communications (BLOS) to the UK MoD, under the 22-year Skynet programme.

Defence Technology