The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced signing a contract with Babcock to operate Skynet, the UK’s military satellite communications system. The agreement with Babcock is expected to support jobs in the south-west of England. 

Under the six-year contract, Babcock and its partners will be responsible for operating and managing the UK MoD’s constellation of military satellites and ground stations and integrating new user terminals. The partnership will also support the successful transition of services for future Skynet operations. 

The contract will further boost Skynet operations to deliver information to UK and allied forces worldwide.

Babcock CEO David Lockwood said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to support this world-leading technological safeguard. Skynet enables vital communications to the UK Armed Forces wherever they are, helping to keep them safe.”

Skynet has been in service since the 1960s – with the first satellite of the sixth Skynet generation satellite, Skynet 6A, set to be launched in 2025. The contract includes the services necessary to support the current Skynet infrastructure and the successful transition and continuous delivery of service for future Skynet operations.

The six-year contract, with an initial value of more than £400 million, forms part of the MoD’s £6bn Skynet 6 programme, sustaining more than 400 jobs in the south-west of the UK. The organisation is expected to benefit engineers, scientists, spare technicians and administrative staff looking for work.

UK Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk said: “The UK’s next-generation military satellite communications system will keep us at the forefront of this critical domain, and the work under this contract will bolster our resilience for years to come.” Last month, Babcock International Group produced the first 3D metal-printed parts for installation on the British Army’s in-service armoured fleets.

In October 2022, Babcock announced they would support a capability upgrade programme for the Australia Defence Force’s defence high frequency communications system.