Skynet satellite system complete

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Astrium has launched the final Skynet satellite, completing the British military communication satellite global network

EADS Astrium

launched the final Skynet 5 satellite, Skynet 5C, completing the new British military communication satellite system, from Kourou in

French Guiana

on 12 June.

The system is the result of a £3bn a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) programme under the MoD in partnership with service providers Paradigm Secure Communications, and Astrium who built the satellite.

Paradigm, part of Astrium Services, is responsible for delivering secure communications services as part of a service provision contract with the 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.

The Skynet 5C satellite will be capable of beaming communication signals between headquarters in the UK and British forces deployed around the world once initial testing is complete. Work is now beginning to correctly position the satellite in order to establish full operating capability.

Skynet 5C will be employed as an in-orbit reserve for Skynets 5A and 5B which were launched in 2007.