Matra Marconi Space will this month be invited to bid for the project definition phase of Britain’s Skynet 5 military communications satellite programme, which could be worth £400m.
MMS has completed the Skynet 5 feasibility study. In the two-year project definition stage, the Ministry of Defence wants to look at three routes to meeting the Skynet 5 requirement.
One is the national project definition programme that MMS will bid for. A second is a collaborative project definition programme involving Britain, Germany and France. This might involve MMS with Germany’s Dasa.
A national or international programme will be chosen by next year. This will then be run in parallel with the MoD’s third idea, a satellite communications service under the private finance initiative.
In early 1998 a contract will be let for design studies to be completed by the end of 1999. A contract for the satellites and ground stations and their support will be let in 2000.
Skynet 5 will replace the Skynet 4 system from 2005, providing communications links with British sea, land and air forces world-wide.