UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has confirmed the launch of the nation’s first Defence Space Strategy.
With UK military systems becoming increasingly dependent on space technology, the Royal Air Force (RAF) Air Command has assumed responsibility for command and control of military space operations in order to defend the interests of the country in space.
RAF chief of air staff 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 across government and internationally.”
Expected to be initiated this summer, the new Defence Space Strategy has been designed to protect UK operations against emerging space-based threats. This includes jamming of civilian satellites used by broadcasters and satellite navigation to support military capabilities.
UK Defence Minister Guto Bebb said: “Space is a vital part our economy, with an industry worth £14bn a year.
“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. We are investing millions into Britain’s most innovative companies to help us launch forward in the space domain.”
Currently, satellites and space-based services offer communications, imagery, precision targeting and friendly force tracking for the armed forces.
The UK’s Defence Space Strategy will examine how the country can work in collaboration with its Nato allies in order to protect and defend their mutual space interests.
Williamson also confirmed that the 500 personnel currently working in the UK defence space sector will be increased to more than 600 over the next five years under the space strategy.