Airbus Defence and Space

Skynet 5C satellite ready for launch on 30 May

Stevenage, 28 May 2008 – Airbus Defence and Space is on target for the third Skynet 5 satellite launch with Skynet 5C scheduled for launch from Kourou, French Guiana on 30 May 2008 on an Ariane 5 launch vehicle.

 Airbus Defence and Space prime contractor for all Skynet elements: Skynet 5C military communications satellite, Launcher Ariane 5, Satellite services through Airbus Defence and Space company Paradigm

  • Paradigm to increase milsatcoms services to UK Ministry of Defence
  • Skynet 5C completes the constellation
  • Skynet 5A and 5B launched in 2007 both operational


Airbus Defence and Space plays a triple role on the Skynet 5 programme responsible for the service provision through its company Paradigm, prime contractor on the launcher Ariane 5 and also as prime contractor for the satellites and associated ground segment.

A new era in secure military communications for the UK Ministry of Defence began when the Skynet 5A satellite entered service in April 2007 following successful launch from Kourou, French Guiana on 11 March 2007. Skynet 5B was launched on 14 November 2007 and entered service in January one month earlier than scheduled.

Skynet 5 is the groundbreaking next generation military satellite communications programme for the UK Ministry of Defence. Secure communications services are being delivered by the owner and operator, Paradigm, part of Airbus Defence and Space, with the system, including the satellites, designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space. Airbus Defence and Space is prime contractor on Ariane 5.

This will be another major milestone in the large, complex and technically advanced Skynet 5 PFI and is the culmination of many years’ collaboration and partnership between the MoD, Paradigm, Airbus Defence and Space, AIRBUS Group and financial experts.

The MoD requirements under the Skynet 5 contract, are fully met by the Skynet 5A and 5B satellites. Following the successful launch of Skynet 5C discussions between the MoD and Paradigm will determine the best use of the three satellite constellation, to provide the most effective services to meet the MoD’s current requirement and the needs of the third party market.

The Skynet 5 satellites are based on Airbus Defence and Space's Eurostar E3000 satellite platform with a 34 m solar array span and a launch mass of 4.63 tonnes. Skynet 5C will be positioned at 17.8 degrees West.

François Auque, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space said: “Once again Airbus Defence and Space is set to deliver another triple success – the launch of the third Skynet 5 satellite, where we are prime contractor for the satellites, the launcher and for the services through our company Paradigm. With the Skynet 5 programme we have proved we can provide unrivalled levels of service utilising our own world-leading satellite technology – to give our customers what they require.”

Malcolm Peto, Managing Director of Paradigm said: “We are thrilled that the third Skynet 5 satellite is ready for launch. This is an enormous achievement and a credit to the UK MoD and industry teams involved in the Skynet programme. Key milestones and significant points along the capability roadmap have been achieved time and again. Most importantly, delivering the best service to our customers is at the forefront of what we do.”

Airbus Defence and Space has met the triple challenge on Skynet 5 – responsible for the satellites, the service provision through Paradigm and prime contractorship on the launcher Ariane 5.

Airbus Defence and Space, a wholly owned subsidiary of AIRBUS Group, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Airbus Defence and Space had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Airbus Defence and Space for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and Airbus Defence and Space for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Airbus Defence and Space for the development and delivery of satellite services.

AIRBUS Group is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, AIRBUS Group generated revenues of €39.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116, 000.


Press Contacts:

Matthieu Duvelleroy (Airbus Defence and Space FR) Phone: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Jeremy Close (Airbus Defence and Space UK) Phone: +44 (0)1438 77 3872

Francisco Lechón (Airbus Defence and Space SP) Phone: +34 (0) 91 586 37 41

Emma Stanway, Paradigm Phone: +44 (0)1249 85 3754

Editors Notes

Paradigm – meeting all satellite communications requirements

Paradigm has a contract worth £3.6bn with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the provision of military satellite communications services to 2020. The programme, procured as a Private Finance Initiative (PFI), provides the next generation of UK Milsatcom capability. The Paradigm team includes Airbus Defence and Space, the system designer and provider. For further information visit

In addition to complete X-band packages, Paradigm is able to offer capacity, coverage augmentation, anchoring and back-haul services, as well as terminal leasing.

From the outset, Paradigm planned for the Skynet 5 system to be far more capable and larger than that required to meet the UK MoD requirements. Paradigm is, therefore, able to offer services to other militaries and government organisations and has supplied milsatcom services to NATO, the Netherlands, Portugal, Canada, France, Germany, Australia and the US.

Paradigm's WelComE services enables service personnel to make telephone calls and have access to the Internet from operational theatres worldwide, as part of the MoD funded welfare package. Paradigm has provided over 3 million hours of welfare telephone calls and provides Internet and email services that are free for use to all UK service personnel deployed on operations overseas.

Airbus Defence and Space

A partner in the enterprise, Airbus Defence and Space has delivered integral elements of the new system including design, development and supply or installation of the baseband network and encryption systems. Installed across three UK sites, 38 naval vessels and 45 deployable ground stations, the baseband network that Airbus Defence and Space has developed comprises a number of bespoke solutions, customising off-the-shelf platforms, and incorporating specific developments, such as the Resilient Rate Adaptor (RRA) – that manages and prioritises the flow of communication through the system, and Baseband Element Management Application (BEMA) a configuration fault and performance reporting tool that supports automatic, rapid provision of service/links in response to controller demand. Three new encryption technologies were developed to ensure completely secure and robust communications and Airbus Defence and Space achieved on time delivery as promised three years earlier.

To meet this delivery timescale work started prior to contract award.

Airbus Defence and Space (DS is a systems solutions provider combining military air systems, missile systems, communications and intelligence systems, global security solutions, sensor and avionics systems, as well as test and support solutions into a single effective network. In 2006, DS – with its around 23,000 employees – achieved revenues of €5.9 billion.


Serco has been an integral part of the Paradigm team for Skynet 5 since the award of the PFI Study Contract in 1999 and is a full member of the Enterprise.

Serco provides spacecraft control, communications network management and facilities management services, including staff deployed in theatre in support of these services. In addition, Serco provides support to Paradigm’s welfare communications services, for deployed forces in operational theatres around the world, enabling service men and women to maintain contact with home.

Serco’s track record in the provision of such vital services started over 40 years ago when the government entrusted it to maintain the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at RAF Fylingdales. From this landmark contract, the company has established a strong reputation in the defence and aerospace markets for reliability, innovation and successful long-term working partnerships.

Serco is an international service company, which combines commercial know-how with a deep public service ethos. It improves services by managing people, processes, technology and assets more effectively. Serco’s people offer operational, management and consulting expertise in the aerospace, defence, health, home affairs, local government, nuclear, science, technology, transport and commercial sectors.


Logica has developed the fully integrated Operational and Business Support system for Skynet 5 containing over 1 million lines of code. These systems demonstrate how commercial technology is at the centre of the delivery of complex communications services to the UK Ministry of Defence. As the prime contractor for the Skynet 5 software, Logica combines its extensive commercial and defence expertise to undertake the development and operations of the Skynet management system. With Skynet 5, the Logica systems allow Paradigm to plan, manage and deliver a wide range of communication services.

Logica has worked with the MoD for nearly 40 years from the business to the battlespace, and is the European leader in military satellite communications ground systems.

Logica is a major international force in IT services. It employs around 39,000 people across 41 countries. Logica’s focus is on enabling its customers to build and maintain leadership positions using Logica’s deep industry knowledge and its track record for successful delivery. The company provides business consulting, systems integration and IT and business process outsourcing across diverse markets including telecoms, financial services, energy and utilities, industry, distribution and transport and the public sector.

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