The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has awarded a service delivery wrap (SDW) contract to Babcock International to support the Skynet military satellite communication system.

The value of this six-year SDW contract is approximately £400m.

The contract will require Babcock to work with its other industry partners to operate and manage the ground stations of MoD’s constellation of military satellites, as well as oversee the integration of new user terminals.

Work under this contract will ensure that the British forces deployed across the globe can communicate back to their home base/land, directly from the battlefield, aboard a ship or in the air.

The SDW contract will support nearly 400 jobs across the UK, specifically in Corsham, Bristol and Plymouth.

Babcock CEO David Lockwood said: “Skynet enables vital communications to the UK Armed Forces wherever they are, helping to keep them safe.”

According to the MoD, the contract will provide low-risk, crucial, uninterrupted services in support of existing Skynet 5 infrastructure and further allow successful transitioning of services into the future Skynet operations.

The SDW award is part of a broader Skynet 6 programme that aims to deliver satellite communications services to the UK Armed Forces until and beyond 2041.

The Skynet 6 effort has received an overall £6bn in funding from the UK government.

It involves the manufacture and launch of the Skynet 6A satellite, which is being developed by Airbus Defence and Space UK. The new satellite will provide space-based communications from 2028 onwards. 

UK Defence Procurement Minister Alex Chalk KC said: “The UK’s next-generation military satellite communications system will keep us at forefront of this critical domain and work under this contract will bolster our resilience for years to come.”