BT forms alliance to innovate MoD satellite communications

BT, NSSLGlobal and Viasat UK have announced an alliance to deliver critical defence satellite communications (SATCOM) services, supporting the modernisation of the UK’s defence and space sectors.

The alliance has come together to respond to major UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) programmes, including bidding for the Service Delivery Wrap (SDW) component of Skynet 6, a MoD SATCOM programme that is expected to be awarded in 2022.

Under the MoD’s Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) contract, BT has more than 20 years of experience in providing secure, resilient connectivity and voice, data and video conferencing services to 2,000 MoD sites in the UK and overseas.

UK-based NSSLGlobal is an established provider in the existing Skynet 5 contract eco-system. Since 1982, the company has delivered custom SATCOM and engineering solutions for all Royal Navy platforms, as well as supporting Royal Air Force platforms and Army users with commercial SATCOM capabilities.

Viasat UK provides deep security and communications expertise to the UK defence and civilian markets. With its future ViaSat-3 constellation, the company expects to have more geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellite capacity on orbit than every private sector GEO SATCOM provider combined. Its systems are also currently used across multiple UK MoD programmes, from the Royal Air Force’s new F-35 stealth fighter to Royal Navy warships.

Ed Stainton, director of major government projects at BT, said, “We will build on a strong innovation culture, and access to best-of-breed technologies to work collaboratively with our alliance partners, to deliver military-grade, mission-critical communications services to the MOD and other government departments."

The MoD launched the SDW competition on 5 November 2019 in support of the Skynet 6 programme. The programme will comprise a five-year service management effort in support of Skynet 6 and replace the current Skynet 5 contract scheduled to deliver SATCOM services until August 2022.

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