The Government say that the Defence Space Strategy (DSS) outlines how the Ministry of Defence will protect the UK’s national interests in space in “an era of ever-growing threats”.

As part of the new £1.4 billion investment, over the next ten years £968 million will be committed to deliver a multi-satellite system to support greater global surveillance and intelligence for military operations – known as the ISTARI Programme.

“A further £61 million will explore cutting-edge laser communications technology to deliver data from space to Earth at a speed equivalent to superfast broadband. This substantial investment in space defence is on top of the existing £5 billion already upgrading the UK’s Skynet satellite communications capability – providing strategic communication services to the UK Armed Forces and allies.”

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“It’s crucial we continue to push the frontiers of our defence space ambitions, enhancing our military resilience and strengthening our nation’s security. This significant investment will help to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of space innovation and one step ahead of our competitors.”

The MINERVA Programme

“An additional £127 million invested over the next four years will develop a network of satellites designed to integrate space with land, air, sea and cyber. An operational concept demonstrator, the new programme “MINERVA”, will present the UK’s ability to autonomously collect, process and disseminate data from UK and allied space assets to support frontline military decision-making. Work has already commenced on the programme and MINERVA will present a developed and tested system in due course, which will be brought together under the established UK Space Command and underpin the £968 million ISTARI Programme.”

PROMETHEUS 2

“Designed and assembled by In-Space Missions Ltd in Alton, two tiny satellites (30cm x 20cm x 10cm), comparable to the size of a shoebox, will provide a test platform for monitoring through GPS, radio signals and sophisticated imaging, paving the way for a more collaborative and connected space communication system with our combat allies. These satellites will support MOD’s science and technology activities both in orbit and on the ground through the development of ground systems focussed at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory site near Portsmouth.”

Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston was quoted as saying:

“With this strategy, the Ministry of Defence will protect and promote the United Kingdom’s interests in space, and take a leading role in the coalition of like-minded nations and organisations who have come together to ensure space is there for the benefit of all.”

The Government add that the DSS “reinforces objectives outlined in the 2021 Integrated Review to build resilience, shape the international order of the future; sustain strategic advantage through science and technology; and strengthen security and defence at home and overseas”.

George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago

This is interesting seeing how it was reported that both China and Russia have advanced in their ability to target satellites , with the Chinese Shijian-21 satellite, actually grabbing another and changing its course.

Last edited 2 months ago by Farouk
Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

The thing is once you bring the cost of the satellites down by making them small and generic it costs the same to intercept them as it does to build and launch them in the first place so it just becomes a war of attrition.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago

In the not too distant future this will be the RAF’s no 1 priority. At least in terms of it’s budget. We need them to get It right. Hopefully there’s a Dowding somewhere at the top in the RAF.

Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

RAF Luton are already on the case:

Opera Snapshot_2022-02-01_171517_twitter.com.png
David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Oh god !😂
I’m happy they used Star Trek rather than that abomination Star Wars. Yes i’m a Trekkie. Live long and prosper man.

Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I’m a huge sci fi buff also. on that note have you watched the expence (its on Amazon prime) but it can be purchased on DVD/BR. currently reading well worth a butchers

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

There are so many sci fi series I haven’t gotten around to. I just don’t have the patience for box sets etc. I look at them and it’ll say 17 hours of programming for a series and there are 6 series etc. Give me a film even a 3 hour one and i’m happy.

Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Damn, just reread my post and started , but failed to mention that I prefer to read than watch the telly. Currently reading a sci fi series about a future british space empire, where we go to war (in order) against the Chinese, India, UN, then Russia, then a set of aliens and now another set of aliens. popcorn for the brain but I enjoy reading them on my kindle on my spinbike so as to pass the time.

510ItdZQE3L.jpg
Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

The Expanse is excellent, but I don’t thing anything has yet beaten the reboot of Battlestar Galactica.

Farouk
Farouk
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Have you had a butchers at the Mandalorian. Flows along the lines of Clint Eastwood stories regards the man with no name films, a lot darker than the past 20 years of star wars crap and really enjoyable.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Nope, after the farce of the last 20 years culminating in that crime against cinema, “The Rise of Skywalker”, I refuse to watch another Star Wars production ever again.

Andy P
Andy P
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Kind of where I am Sean. Throw in Jar Jar Binks and there is a headlock getting thrown if I ever meet George Lucas. Way off piste but he screwed the Indiana Jones franchise too. 😡

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

Oh Jar Jar Binks was the most annoying character ever created in the history of cinema. How he got away with that, with the obvious racist stereotyping I’ll never understand.

Tommo
Tommo
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Farouk, I’ve seen the owlkitty version

dave12
dave12
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

👍

Tommo
Tommo
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

So say we all Sean

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommo

so say we all

Tommo
Tommo
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Reboot of BG far better than the the corny Orginal series Galactica even had Cats and Traps

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommo

Nope, she only had cats, no traps.
The Vipers could also do STOVL like the F35B, so they were pretty damn versatile, though a bit underarmed and not at all stealthy.

Tommo
Tommo
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

I’ll just ask Apollo about stealthy he could switch ,Channels and get a cloaking device from the Romulans

Expat
Expat
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Expanse gets my vote to, shame they won’t be doing more.

Andy P
Andy P
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

Plus one for The Expanse. It looks heavily based on the old Traveller RPG, that’s not a criticism I loved playing Traveller. I did hear that the next and final series has been binned because of the expense, I hope not.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy P

I loved watching The Expanse, but then Amazon bought it and restricted it to their Prime customers only. It’s a shame when content is limited in its distribution purely to push a platform into people.
If they’d made it available via other sources the extra revenue might have seen them continue. (I believe there were still plenty of books in the series to turn into new seasons.)

Darren
Darren
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The two are very different.

Latch71
Latch71
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

ST:TNG and Voyager always made me want to puke. I quite enjoyed DS9 though…..

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Latch71

Yeah TNG hasn’t aged well. Half agree with you. DS9 and Voyager are my favs. Very different but for me the best.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Latch71

Never a fan of Voyager… until 7 of 9 arrived 😏

dave12
dave12
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The recent star trek series far to woke and corny for me.

Last edited 2 months ago by dave12
David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  dave12

Even worse boring.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  dave12

Seems to place checkbox wokism above narrative story-telling. And as for a fungus powered starship… 🤣

dave12
dave12
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

👍

Andrew Munro
Andrew Munro
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

What about Dan Dare?

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Munro

Wow well if your not going to take this seriously I don’t know what to say to you. 😃

Frank62
Frank62
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

More a Clangers fan myself.

Tommo
Tommo
2 months ago
Reply to  Farouk

This maybe why there’s a new uniform in the pipeline for the RAF which is likened too those of Star trek hard luck if you draw the Red security Top their always the first too be terminated LOL

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Tommo

Aah original series takes me back to BBC2 Mon – Fri 6.30 after Fresh Prince.

Darren
Darren
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

More of a Navy thing.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Darren

I’m not blanking you but I have no idea which comment your replying to.

Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I doubt it, when the option is to spend their budget on Typhoons or satellites I am pretty sure I know what the RAF will choose. The old mantra of leave it to the Americans to worry about anything above 60,000 ft will prevail.

David Steeper
David Steeper
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Maybe like a number of decisions in defence it will depend on the preferences/prejudices of the people with the final say.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

No mention of OBERON. I assume that is part of ISTARI?

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 months ago

No this project is small cheap satellites equipped with laser communication links to provide high bandwidth and unjammable communication to aircraft or relay between other larger military satellites.

Last edited 2 months ago by Watcherzero
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Yes. Just been reading much greater detail on UKAFC. Oberon/Artemis also coming.
Idea is to have larger numbers of smaller assets we can lose and easily replace rather than a few super sensors that will be negated quickly in war.

Space based SAR, Imagery Sensors, ESM, all incoming. Alternatives to GPS with the US too.

All good stuff.

Martin
Martin
2 months ago

All for less than the MOD spends on diversity training. Sounds like a Star Wars wish list on a Blake 7 budget. Hope I am wrong though.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

You’re aware of Carbonite 2? I believe this stuff is more of that sort, small sats. We are rather good at it, so I think it will happen. Something will be launched from these space ports!

Sean
Sean
2 months ago

The U.K. is a world leader in building small satellites, which can be launched quickly and in all weathers by Virgin Orbit from Newquay.
And the RAF has a pilot embedded with Virgin Orbit…

All coming together I think.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Yes, Surrey Satellites. Nearby to me.

It is about time we had more than just Skynet.

We already pay the US for a share of some of the NSA satellites and I presume have access to the NRO ones too as Zircon was too pricey and the usual suspects went ballistic.

ARTEMIS, OBERON will expand on the start made by Carbonite 2.

Ian
Ian
2 months ago

An interesting aspect is the emphasis on working with allies, which seems to be a theme running through.

Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Ian

That’s MOD speak for chipping in a few quid to the NRO for some of their imagery which has been British space policy since the 60’s. After that it’s buying imagery from commercial providers or anyone who drinks in Matt Hancock’s pub giving us the same space recon capability as anyone online with a Visa card and access to google maps.

Trevor
Trevor
2 months ago

I do hope that this is not another project where the funding goes into find and fix, but the “kill” part of the kill chain somehow gets lost in translation. See also UK defences against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones and surface warships.

James
James
2 months ago
Reply to  Trevor

Surely the ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones and surface warships are all under the ‘kill’ category which we have all of the mentioned items in service.

Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Trevor

Don’t worry there is zero chance of the UK having anything approaching a kill chain for satellites. It would be far too controversial for the UK to poses such weapons much easier for the MOD to leave it along with landmines and cluster munitions to the Americans. The MOD will continue its policy of the best way to protect satellites is not to have any.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Except that the MOD does have satellites… and has done since the late 60’s

Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Communication satellites but not recon satellites

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Carbonite 2

Terence Patrick Hewett
Terence Patrick Hewett
2 months ago

If the UK were Russia or China, they would be pouring billions of money into Reaction Engines Sabre Project. But as usual, the US or the EU will benefit: I would line all the parliamentary political dregs and dags up against the wall.

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
2 months ago

Why are we wasting £1.4billion on this? To keep up with the French? The British Army is now so small we probably couldn’t deploy it overseas again, unless maybe to the Isle of Wight or possibly Jersey

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

I have to say that I agree entirely. Another ‘nation’ adding to the millions of tonnes of ‘space junk’, already up there. Come back Captain Kirk…

Robert Blay.
Robert Blay.
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Look at the big picture David. Cyber and space will be a huge player in any future conflicts. Especially cyber.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay.

We’re effectively already engaged in combat in the cyberspace with Russia and its ‘bear’ hacking groups. But it’s being self-limited at the moment below the level of using cyber attacks to physically destroy nation’s public and private infrastructure, utilities, communications and logistics.
But you can be sure those self-restraints would be lifted before the usual barrage of cruise missiles launch at the beginning of a kinetic conflict.

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Very true. I think the pandemic has shown how a country can quickly be turned into chaos when basic public and private infrastructure is affected. It would only need to disrupt supermarket food logistics or stop access to our mobile phones, and things would quickly unravel without a single shot being fired. This is more of a threat to our way of life than any number of ageing Russian warships conducting drills in the Atlantic.

Meirion x
Meirion x
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

We are Not wasting £1.4Bn!
Who controls space will certainly have a very big influence on the ground.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion x

Exactly.

Quill
Quill
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Much like Sea, Land and air, cyber and space are an increasingly important domain in the domains of warefare. We’re barely holding onto our status as one of the stronger powers, not investing in cyber and space, considering how lawte we are, would see us much more lacking in future conflicts. Hell the laser communication alone shows a fragment of how it could be a game changer. Subsea cables cut by the ruskies? You still have satellites and laser communication ensuring in a battlespace there is less reliance on these subsea cables and what not. Information is relayed from satellites… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Waste? It’s all Doom and Gloom isn’t it.🙄
Investment in space is necessary. Vital in fact.

Coll
Coll
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

No doubt that they will sell/provide intelligence to partner nations.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

You probably also think we’re wasting money on having an airforce to attain air superiority… 🤦🏻‍♂️

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

This seems to be mirroring a recently launched US project that similarly consists of using small cheap satellites to provide laser communication with jets or to relay communications between other military satellites optically.

Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

£1.4 billion over 10 years gets you about 2 infantry battalions. What difference would that make to the British Army? Short of being able to deploy a brigade in Central Asia for 20 years I don’t see what you can achieve with any sized army you can think of drawing from a UK population on a volunteer basis and let’s be honest sending a brigade to Central Asia for that long was a total waste of time. What can you do with a British Army of 103,000 that you can’t do with 82,000 or 76,000 on a useful operational context?

Frank62
Frank62
2 months ago
Reply to  Martin

Sustain operations longer, deter more enemies better, rotate front line servicemen more, & absorb casualties for a start. Whatever size we’ll be more credible with updated artilliary support & armour, which we’ve made a real mess of.

Coll
Coll
2 months ago

It seems more like space surveillance rather than space defence.

Martin
Martin
2 months ago

Why we did not follow on from TOPSAT in 2006 is beyond me. It’s ridiculous the UK is one of the few major nations now with no Recon satellite capability. I really hope this leads to something and not yet another demonstrator that goes no where TOPSAT, Mantis, Taranis to name but a few. A UK developed constellation of EO and SAR satellites launched from Cornwall and the numerous sites in Scotland could be up and running in a few years for significantly less money than the MRA4 razor blades George Osbourne made however the budgets they are suggesting £968… Read more »

Martin
Martin
2 months ago

Does anyone see any reference to OBERON actually existing. The report has a picture of if but make no mention to its fait, SKYNET seems to be the only item in their that actually exists or is ever likely to exist. It was suppose to launch in 2022. Guess we can wait for the Space flying Typhoons with laser beams and HMS Galactica in the next report.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago

Any news on the one web purchase the uk government made. It was a good chunk of cash and would be interesting to know what that’s getting used for. My main worry for space is as soon as a shooting war starts it’s game over. The debris will be catastrophic from even a few blow ups. They then hit and shatter other satellites and the domino effect kicks in. There has to be progress in to stopping anti say weapons. The ones that explode things into pieces anyway. The uk is going in the right direction and getting launch facilities… Read more »

Watcherzero
Watcherzero
2 months ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Since the UK government stake One Web has managed to attract further commercial investment to complete its initial network and restarted launches. Government is trialing a pseudo-GPS system where a commercial communication satellite uses one of its beams to generate a navigation signal on an Inmarsat satellite, if successful that would be rolled out onto 2nd gen One Web sats which will also feature the ability to redirect beam coverage on the fly. Being able to pick up the signals from over a dozen communication sats whose clocks are maintained by ground stations should have the same positioning accuracy as… Read more »

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Good to hear OneWeb restarted launches to complete its initial network, as that’s a requirement to retain the frequency it operates at – a technically superior one to that which StarLink obtained.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
2 months ago
Reply to  Watcherzero

Great news about one web. It seems to occupy a different customer base and area of space compared to starlink. I did wonder at the time If this would replace sky net and that’s once pricey system. Must be worth the cash tho as they keep renewing sky net. There are a lot of possibilities with the one web sats. Depends if it stays commercial or there will be some add ons for U.K. military etc. Or if the satellite frame(I know that’s not the correct term, my memory has failed me) can have recon stuff slotted in and out… Read more »

Pete
Pete
2 months ago

Interesting paper on state of Army…technology v role kind of debate. Good read.

https://wavellroom.com/2022/02/02/more-range-or-more-rangers-the-fight-for-the-future-of-the-british-army/

David Lloyd
David Lloyd
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete

Yes that is an interesting article. But the debate on the size of the Army is academic, because it is not set by what is needed to defend the realm but by how much money the government is prepared to spend. Many who post here will understand that the real issue is the inability of the MoD to manage procurement projects effectively. The profligate waste of taxpayers money into the bottomless pit that is the MoD means that we are constantly scrapping capability to make the books balance. No defence minister in lliving memory has been able to reform the… Read more »

Pete
Pete
2 months ago
Reply to  David Lloyd

Don’t disagree David. Ensuring the right processes, governance frameworks and skills to successfully drive operationally critical procurement is difficult in private industry never mind government agencies. Most successful organisations I’ve experienced really encourage and reward pockets of good practice. Key is making sure recommendations are based on overall organisational impact assessments, not just lowest price or lowest through life cost impacts. Can take 2-3 years to embed the necessary cultural changes and skills to a level that makes a difference. Is it possible in the MoD …probably. Type 31 will, I believe be a great example of an on time,… Read more »

Martin
Martin
2 months ago
Reply to  Pete

That’s a great report, sums up the current state of the British army but also the US army.

MikeB1947
MikeB1947
2 months ago

In the Cheyenne Mountain complex at Colorado Springs there is, reportedly, a door marked “Stargate Command”. The staff, who were apparently fans of the TV show, say it is merely a storeroom and the sign was put on for a joke but, who knows what lies hidden in underground America

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  MikeB1947

Lots. Lots more rumoured too. All fascinating stuff.