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Airbus Portsmouth’s key role in keeping MOD project on track

August 10, 2022

Airbus’ facility in Portsmouth has helped the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) next secure military communications satellite, SKYNET 6A, reach a key development stage.

The aviation specialist has achieved a key milestone with the successful completion of the Critical Design Review (CDR) with 400 specialists working on the project in Portsmouth, Stevenage and Hawthorn.

Richard Franklin, managing director of Airbus Defence and Space UK said: “Achieving this crucial milestone is tangible proof that in partnership with Defence Digital in the Ministry of Defence we are firmly on track and making great progress on this flagship programme.

“We now have more than 400 people working on the project at our key sites in Stevenage, Portsmouth and Hawthorn. We are building SKYNET 6A with its unique military communications payload entirely in the UK and we currently have more than 45 small to medium sized enterprises and subcontractors helping to make sure we remain on target for launch in 2025.”

Airbus, which has been involved in SKYNET since 1974, was awarded the SKYNET 6A contract in July 2020 to supplement the existing SKYNET 5 fleet of four satellites and enhance the UK’s milsatcom capability.

The SKYNET 6A CDR has been achieved on time, working closely with the Defence Digital team. The next major milestone will be the delivery of the Communications Structure by the end of 2022.

The SKYNET 6A contract covers the design, development, manufacture, assembly, integration, test and launch, of the military communications satellite, and includes key national technology development programmes.


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