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3 January, 2006 - 16:34 By Staff Reporter

EADS seals new satellite manufacturing contract

Herts based EADS Astrium, a £22bn turnover leader in aerospace and defence services, has won a new contract reaffirming its position as market leader in secure military satellite communications.Herts based EADS Astrium, a £22bn turnover leader in aerospace and defence services, has won a new contract reaffirming its position as market leader in secure military satellite communications.

Following the signing of the extension to the Skynet 5 PFI contract by the UK MoD and Paradigm Secure Communications, Stevenage based EADS has been chosen to supply a third Skynet 5 satellite and critical items for a possible fourth.

The contract will also include an extension to the ground control system to support Skynet 5C after launch.

Since the original Skynet 5 contract was signed in October 2003, EADS Astrium has progressed on schedule with the design and manufacture of the Skynet 5A and B satellites. Skynet 5A, following construction in the UK, is already in final assembly in EADS Astrium’s facility in Toulouse and will be fully tested over the next few months.

The Skynet 5B communications and service modules will be delivered to Toulouse from the UK in the next two months for final integration. To date, all payload equipment, antennas and processors have been delivered on time and to schedule.

Skynet 5A, B and C will be launched in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively.

On the Skynet 5 ground segment, all deliveries and upgrades of the SCOT shipborne communications equipment have been completed to schedule. I

In addition, a Television over Military Satellite (TOMS) system has been installed on many Royal Navy ships and the Media Backlink system, which enables broadcast quality pictures to be beamed from RN ships via the Skynet satellites, has already been successfully trialled and utilised – with

several live interviews shown on national and international television.

Significant progress has also been achieved on the land equipment with all necessary upgrades in the ground control centres completed to schedule.

Further integration is due to be completed in 2006 following the launch of Skynet 5A. A Reacher land tactical terminals programme is progressing. The Talon land tactical terminals were delivered on schedule and are currently supporting operational service with the UK Armed Forces in Afghanistan with usage far greater than initially envisaged.

Paradigm is also ordering the partial build of a fourth satellite, to be held in reserve. If required, in order to maintain the assurance strategy of having three satellites in orbit, the fourth satellite would be completed and launched in the event that any of the first three satellites were not successfully commissioned after launch.

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