The UK has moved one of its Skynet satellites over the Asia-Pacific region to give the system global coverage and assist allies.

Skynet is a family of commercially managed military communications satellites operated on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, which provide strategic communication services to the British Armed Forces and UK allies.

Defence Minister Philip Dunne previously confirmed that Airbus was to reposition one of the Skynet satellites, providing the UK with secure communications and a greater ability to support regional humanitarian and peacekeeping operations worldwide.

Satellite ‘Skynet 5A’ moved from its position over Europe, the Middle East and Africa, making Skynet services available over the eastern Asia-Pacific region, including in Australia which will also host a new ground station. The move represents significant export opportunities for the UK as any spare communication capacity will be sold.

An official said:

“The announcement that Airbus will be moving one of the UK’s Skynet satellites to the eastern Asia-Pacific region is clear proof of how much our relationships with our international allies matter.

This is the first time that we have had a secure communications capability in the region, and shows the depth of our commitment to our allies and partners in the region, including Malaysia, in humanitarian and peacekeeping operations.”

The agreement of the British government to move the satellite is believed to be part of a broad program of increased cooperation with Asian and Pacific allies.

Colin Paynter, head of Airbus Space and Defence, said:

“The Skynet 5 constellation consists of the world’s most powerful, nuclear hardened and protected, military X-band and UHF satellites. With the move of Skynet 5A, we will expand the availability of our premium secure MILSATCOM services to allied nations in the region who need high grade resilient and secure communications services to complement their existing systems.”

View the position here.

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