17 Jun 20. Industry-leading global communications companies, BT plc (BT), NSSLGlobal Ltd and Viasat UK Ltd., a subsidiary of Viasat, Inc. (NASDAQ: VSAT), today announced an alliance to deliver critical defence satellite communications (SATCOM) services, and support modernisation of the UK’s defence and space sectors. The Alliance has come together to respond to major UK MOD programmes, including bidding for the ‘Service Delivery Wrap’ (SDW) component of Skynet 6, a MOD SATCOM programme that is expected to be awarded in 2022. The Alliance will provide fully managed best-in-class SATCOM solutions.
In addition to supporting current MOD programmes, the Alliance is strongly positioned to contribute to the developing UK agenda around defence and space technologies. The Alliance provides leadership in SATCOM, cybersecurity, service delivery, tactical networking, artificial intelligence and emerging technologies.
All three companies bring exceptionally strong track records in working with the MOD and other defence and government organisations around the world.
- BT plc: Under the MOD’s Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) contract, BT has more than 20 years of experience in providing highly-secure, resilient connectivity and voice, data and video conferencing services to 2,000 MOD sites in the UK and overseas. As part of the MOD’s Integrated User Services (IUS) contract, BT provides fixed and mobile voice services to hundreds of thousands of military personnel in the UK and globally.
- NSSLGlobal: The UK company, NSSLGlobal, is an established provider in the existing Skynet 5 UK MOD contract eco-system. Since 1982, NSSLGlobal has been providing communications technology for the Royal Navy delivering custom SATCOM and engineering solutions for all Royal Navy platforms. In addition, NSSLGlobal supports Royal Air Force platforms and Army users with lightweight, rapidly deployable commercial SATCOM capabilities. NSSLGlobal works closely in partnership with the UK MOD on projects needing engineering innovation, bringing maximum performance and value for money for secure operational traffic and welfare connectivity services.
- Viasat UK Ltd: Viasat UK Ltd. provides deep security and communications expertise to rapidly deliver new sovereign technologies to the UK defence and civilian markets. Specific to the UK defence market, Viasat UK Ltd., works closely with Viasat Inc., which has been recognised for developing an expansive portfolio of capabilities across SATCOM, tactical networking, information assurance and cybersecurity. Today, Viasat Inc. has more capacity on orbit than any other private sector SATCOM provider in the world, and with its future ViaSat-3 constellation, the Company expects to have more geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellite capacity on orbit than every private sector GEO SATCOM provider combined. Viasat Inc.’s security, encryption, next-generation tactical data links and SATCOM systems are also currently used across multiple UK MOD programmes, from the Royal Air Force’s new F-35 stealth fighter to Royal Navy warships.
The alliance has come together to respond to major UK MOD programmes. In particular it aims to deliver the ‘Service Delivery Wrap’ (SDW) component of the MoD’s Skynet 6 satellite communications programme. Replacing the current Skynet 5 system, Skynet 6 is expected to be awarded in 2022 and provide next-generation, mission-critical communications and data capabilities to the MoD and other Government departments in theatres worldwide.
Longer term, the alliance is also aimed at helping modernise the UK’s defence and space sectors, through its established expertise in technologies such as satellite communications, cybersecurity, tactical networking, AI and emerging technologies.
The SDW contract itself will cover operation of the UK’s constellation of satellites and ground systems, as well as delivery and management of the associated ground terminal infrastructure.
Ed Stainton, director of Major Government, BT, said, “The combined strengths of this new alliance will bring leading edge technical expertise to the MOD across maritime, air, land, space and cyber environments. We will build on a strong innovation culture, and access to best-of-breed technologies to work collaboratively with our alliance partners, to deliver military-grade, mission-critical communications services to the MOD and other government departments. For BT, this is an example of how we are striving to do the best for our customers and for our country.”
Neil Fraser, director – Defence and Space Programmes, NSSLGlobal, said, “As a British company, we have a strong 40-year ‘tried and tested’ heritage of working in partnership with the UK Armed Forces. The expertise of our dedicated staff and engineers is one of our key assets, providing innovative communications across sea, land and air. The strength of this alliance is embedded in our shared values of providing excellent service and our complementary skills and expertise.”
Steve Beeching, managing director, Government Systems, Viasat UK Ltd., added, “We bring deep expertise in working with the MOD and an extensive track record of innovative credentials to this team. In collaborating with BT and NSSLGlobal, we will be able to provide crucial advancements from the defence and commercial sectors to quickly modernise the UK’s Armed Forces capabilities and make the battlespace network of the future a reality for our service men and women. Together, this alliance is poised to become a national asset to the MOD for current and future communications and space programmes as it has the ability to enhance information advantage by utilising some of the world’s leading SATCOM, tactical networking, cyber and emerging defence technologies.”
The UK MOD launched the SDW competition on 5 November 2019 in support of the Skynet 6 programme. The SDW programme will comprise a five-year service management effort in support of Skynet 6 and replace the current Skynet 5 contract scheduled to deliver SATCOM services to the UK MOD until August 2022.
BT’s purpose is to use the power of communications to make a better world. It is one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities include the provision of networked IT services globally; local, national and international telecommunications services to its customers for use at home, at work and on the move; broadband, TV and internet products and services; and converged fixed-mobile products and services. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and Openreach.
For the year ended 31 March 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m. British Telecommunications plc (BT) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London stock exchange. For more information, visit www.btplc.com
NSSLGIobaI is a leading independent provider of satellite communications and IT management solutions with innovation and customer service at the core of its DNA. With over 50 years of experience in the government and maritime mobility markets, NSSLGlobal provides best-in-class satellite and engineering solutions providing a bearer agnostic baseband solution utilising a variety of IP bearers including C-, Ka-, Ku-, L-Band and 3G or any other IP platform, providing connectivity into Restricted and Secret MoD/Govt systems via our MOD approved Gateways. It partners with some of the largest MSS and VSAT satellite operators including Inmarsat, Iridium and Thuraya, Telesat, Eutelsat, Intelsat, SES and JCSAT. With over forty percent of its company consisting of highly specialised engineers, many of who are ex-armed forces, NSSLGlobal understands the needs of its government customers and develops bespoke solutions to very specific requirements. From the systems development activities in UK to its R&D arm in Norway the company owns the SatLink hub and modem technology ensuring a secure end-to-end service. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, it has offices worldwide.
About Viasat, Inc.
Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. For more than 30 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, the Company is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people’s lives anywhere they are—on the ground, in the air or at sea. To learn more about Viasat, visit: www.viasat.com, go to Viasat’s Corporate Blog, or follow the Company on social media at: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube.
BATTLESPACE Comment: This is certainly a strong team and brings together capabilities with the strength and breadth of technology suited to win the Skynet SDW requirement. The inclusion of Viasat gives this team the strength and agility to work between defence and civil satcom operations, using the Viasat constellations and advanced civil technology already deployed for a number of global airlines. These can be integrated into military operations seamlessly across the globe when required to give increased coverage anywhere in the world where a new conflict occurs. In addition, the multiband technology in the team allows ‘bandwidth hopping’ to be undertaken seamlessly to combat any cyber intrusions attempting to shut off satcoms on the battlefield and to hinder logistic supply chains.