Airbus Defence and Space

Skynet 5C: triple success for Airbus Defence and Space

Kourou, 13 June 2008 - Airbus Defence and Space has completed the Skynet 5 military satellite communications fleet with the successful launch of Skynet 5C – the third Skynet 5 satellite - from Kourou, French Guiana.

  • Successful launch completes Skynet 5 fleet
  • Third Ariane5 launch from French Guiana this year
  • Paradigm providing enhanced services to UK MoD

François Auque, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, said: “Completing the Skynet 5 fleet with the successful launch of Skynet 5C is a remarkable milestone and I congratulate the combined teams across Airbus Defence and Space. We are already providing significantly enhanced services to the UK Ministry of Defence with Skynet satellites 5A and 5B, through our subsidiary Paradigm, and Skynet 5C is the pinnacle achievement for this programme. It’s a triple success for Airbus Defence and Space. As prime contractor for the launcher Ariane 5, for the satellites, and also for the services provided, we have proved that Airbus Defence and Space is well and truly capable of providing a world-class secure military communications system from start to finish.”

Malcolm Peto, Managing Director of Paradigm said: "The Skynet 5 programme has been carefully planned for more than 10 years with meticulous detail given to delivering the best possible milsatcom services to the UK Ministry of Defence. This latest success will ensure we continue to provide our customers with nothing but the best – and I would like to thank all the individuals who contributed to this fantastic achievement.”

Paradigm, part of Airbus Defence and Space, as owner and operator of the Skynet 5 system, is responsible for delivering secure communications services as part of a service provision contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) until 2020. Following the successful launches of Skynet 5A in March 2007 and Skynet 5B in November 2007, Paradigm is already providing enhanced secure services to the UK MoD.

Airbus Defence and Space is prime contractor for the Ariane 5 system, responsible for the delivery of fully integrated and tested launch vehicles to Arianespace.

Airbus Defence and Space is responsible for the Skynet 5 satellites and the complete communications system. Following launch, Skynet 5C, designed and built by Airbus Defence and Space, will now undergo a period of intensive in-orbit testing of both satellite and payload before moving to its operational position at 17.8°W.

Skynet 5C is the third satellite that completes the new constellation to meet the UK MoD’s milsatcoms requirements.

Following the successful launch at 22.05 GMT last night, Skynet 5C is currently in its low Earth orbit phase, which began with partial deployment of the solar panels. Skynet 5C will then reach its geostationary orbit, followed by the deployment of the UHF receivers and transmitters and a full testing programme will commence before the first operations begin.

The achievements of the Skynet 5 programme are underpinned by effective partnering between the MoD and industry. Paradigm, Airbus Defence and Space, Serco, Logica, Airbus Defence and Space and the MoD have worked together to make the project a success for all the stakeholders.

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)1 438 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


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 for armed forces and civil security worldwide. Its portfolio ranges from sensors and secure networks through missiles to aircraft and UAVs as well as global security, service and support solutions. In 2007, DS – with around 22,000 employees – achieved revenues of € 5.5 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 36 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. More information is available from

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