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29 Jul 19. Viasat’s UK business: Protecting the nation and boosting Britain’s economy. The company’s expanding presence offers the MoD a range of new defense capabilities. Viasat is beefing up its UK operations with new projects that support British defense capabilities as well as boost the nation’s economy.
In addition to offering numerous interoperable defense capabilities, Viasat’s UK business is expanding locations, hiring local defense and technology experts and developing a range of sovereign British-designed solutions that will help move and support the MoD into the new age of technology driven deterrence.
“Over the past two decades, Viasat’s UK defense business has expanded to new strategic locations and developed an expansive portfolio of expertise and technology capabilities across tactical networking, information assurance, cybersecurity and satellite communications market segments,” said Ken Peterman, Viasat’s president of Government Systems.
“It was great to visit Viasat’s UK headquarters, a growing and innovative global communications and security company within my constituency. I’m excited to support Viasat’s investment in the UK and the value the company can bring to the nation.” —Leo Docherty, MP
“We see a significant growth opportunity in the UK defense market,” Peterman recently told the San Diego Business Journal. “We are committed to working with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to rapidly and affordably bring forward game-changing technology capabilities for UK warfighters operating across the battlespace.”
Viasat’s UK operation dates back to 2000. The company’s security and next-generation tactical data links presence already extends across multiple defense programs, from the Royal Air Force’s new F-35 stealth fighter to Royal Navy warships.
Viasat’s broad portfolio of industry-leading tactical networking products such as the company’s Battlefield Awareness Targeting System-Dismounted (BATS-D), the world’s first handheld Link 16 tactical radio, are available to help the MoD modernize its forces today.
In addition, Visat’s Multi-Mission Terminal (MMT) offers the MoD’s small teams and HQs a man-portable terminal for secure satellite communications.
“It’s taking high-throughput SATCOM capabilities into a manpack-sized unit, instead of the large mobile antennas the MoD tends to currently use,” says Steve Beeching, managing director of Viasat’s UK business. “It’s enabling access to high-capacity SATCOM to deliver high speed, secure capabilities in a small form factor, which is particularly useful for small team deployments.”
But Viasat has even bigger plans for the future of its UK defense business.
Viasat’s UK growth plans come at an opportune time, as the British government and MoD look to modernize forces and expand capabilities across the battlespace. While several major MoD acquisition programs – such as aircraft carriers, Ajax armoured vehicle and F35 jet fighters – are already underway, there is an overwhelming need to develop new technology capabilities to better enable and connect these capabilities and wider users.
Viasat is already engaged in some of the most high-profile UK MoD initiatives expected to launch over the next few years — including the Skynet 6 satellite communications (SATCOM) programme; the TRINITY “broadband in the battlespace” initiative; and the Morpheus next-generation of battlefield communications.
Over the next 18 months, Viasat’s UK presence is expected to continue to grow, creating jobs and generating investment in local economies.
During a recent visit to Viasat’s Aldershot campus, Leo Docherty, a Member of Parliament, echoed the positive impact Viasat can make to the UK economy and the importance of the MoD defense capabilities the company is bringing forward.
“It was great to visit Viasat’s UK headquarters, a growing and innovative global communications and security company within my constituency,” said Mr. Docherty. “I’m excited to support Viasat’s investment in the UK and the value the company can bring to the nation.”
New headquarters in the UK
As part of Viasat’s strategic growth plan, the company recently moved its UK defense headquarters to the M-3 high-tech corridor, closer to both customers and research centers. Today, Viasat’s Aldershot campus is making significant advancements in the areas of security, tactical communications and satellite communications.
“We are utilizing our skills, expertise and expansive network in the UK to rapidly enable growth and bring forward new technology capabilities in the market,” Peterman said.
Particularly significant is Viasat’s June 2018 acquisition of a well-known ground networks company based near Cheltenham, home to government agencies, including the Government Communications Headquarters signals intelligence organization. Coupled with Viasat’s existing network of defense experts and in-depth cybersecurity capabilities, the addition of the Cheltenham company’s strong reputation of delivering integrated communications will allow Viasat to offer a suite of advanced services for government missions.
Today, Viasat’s Cheltenham office is working on a range of cybersecurity, Internet of Battlefield Things and secure in-car connected technology programs. In fact, Viasat partnered with Bentley Motors last year to develop the first-ever advanced in-car connectivity system with military grade security features that will be rolled out later this year.
“We implemented the world’s first high-speed in-car connectivity and security system that fits in a commercial vehicle,” Beeching says. “It’s a bonded solution that is designed to keep users securely connected — no matter the location.”
As in the U.S., the British government is also looking to the high-speed, secure, resilient connectivity and cutting-edge technology capabilities of private sector SATCOM providers. Thus Viasat is developing Hybrid Adaptive Networking – which combines military and commercial satellite networks – specifically tailored for British defense and government customers.
As part of this effort, Viasat has worked with the UK Space Agency and ESA to connect ambulances operating in rural areas, as well as unmanned systems for both commercial and government missions. Viasat’s UK business is also working to further develop a concept that would connect Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to Geostationary Orbit (GEO) satellites to deliver real-time imagery.
“Viasat’s UK business is already working with the MoD and UK government on a range of initiatives and programmes,” Beeching said. “We are poised to be a national asset to the UK government — ready to address emerging threats from adversaries and help the MoD better connect its forces across today’s rapidly evolving battlespace.”
“We have quite an aggressive roadmap and we’re looking forward to what the future holds for our UK Government Systems business,” Peterman added.
26 Aug 19. Space industry calls on Johnson to act on his words. Trade body wants government to commit £150m a year to innovation fund. The UK space industry is calling on the government to commit £150m a year to an innovation fund as part of a national programme that would recognise the sector’s importance. Graham Peters, chair of UKspace, the trade body that represents satellite operators and manufacturers such as Airbus, Inmarsat and US defence group Lockheed Martin, said a national space innovation fund was urgently needed to help commercialise research. “We need Boris Johnson to put his money where his mouth is,” said Mr Peters, referring to the UK prime minister’s first speech in July, where he said Britain should “get going now on our own position navigation and timing satellite and earth observation systems”. At a time when other governments were backing their own industries, the UK should follow suit and recognise its “importance to the digital economy and the military”. added Mr Peters. Last month, France became the latest country to announce a military strategy for space.
A new US Space Command ordered by President Donald Trump at the end of last year is due to launch this week. The UK space sector has attracted significant amounts of private capital in recent years but has been relatively short-changed on public funds, according to industry executives. Calls for a “sector deal” — a formal partnership between the government and industry — have so far fallen on deaf ears despite a tough national target of cornering 10 per cent of the global space market by 2030 — in 2016/17 the figure was 5.1 per cent — in a sector dominated by the US, Russia and China. Mr Peters said the industry could play a big role in the government’s environmental agenda, noting that evidence collected by satellites has helped inform how climate change has affected the environment. The government’s UK Space Agency said it was “clear that the UK should build its national capabilities in space to bring long-term strategic and commercial benefits for this country”. Brexit also brings challenges for the industry, including that several British companies have been excluded from further involvement in the €10bn European Galileo satellite navigation programme. The UK has said it will pursue building its own secure global satellite navigation system and committed £92m to a feasibility study but significant investment will be needed to make it a reality. Questions remain over Britain’s continued involvement in Copernicus, another EU earth observation programme. “Whether or not Brexit was to happen and in what form, we need a national space programme,” said Mr Peters. Will Whitehorn, former president of Virgin Galactic who is due to become president of UKspace in the autumn, said there was scope for a much more “dynamic relationship” with government. One area where Britain could play a leading role, he added, was in the “space launch industry”. (Source: FT.com)
13 Feb 19. Airbus to take part of DSEI’s first ever Space Hub.
Grant Burgham, Event Director, said: “Clarion Events is thrilled to welcome back Airbus at DSEI 2019. It is an exciting time for us as we are launching the Space Hub to reflect the increasing value and importance of the space sector to the security and defence industry.”
Colin Paynter, Managing Director, Airbus Defence and Space UK, said: “We’re delighted to be returning to DSEI for the first time since 2015. The Space Hub will be the perfect showcase for our Skynet military satellite communications and Earth observation capabilities. We’re looking forward to demonstrating some of the sovereign technologies that sit at the heart of the UK’s world-leading space sector.”
The Space Hub will be an incredible opportunity for the industry, the MOD as well as international delegations to discuss the next-generation capabilities critical issues and challenges.
The space sector has grown substantially over the past few years. In the UK it supports over 40,000 jobs across the country and the total income now stands at £14.8 billion. As reported by the UK government Defence and military have seen strong growth, increasing from 2% to 8% of income. Space has with no doubt become a vital part of the defence industry, with a significant reliance on satellites to provide the data needed for military operations.
With engagement from prime defence suppliers through to SMEs – providing LEO satellite data and analytics – the Space Hub will create a forum to discuss how geospatial data is impacting real-time decision making and intelligent tactical positioning amongst the Forces.
DSEI’s comprehensive conference programme will also reflect this emphasis on space with a dedicated day in the Aerospace Seminar.
Alongside Airbus, exhibitors who already signed up include to the Space Hub: world-leading satellite operator GovSat, RF and micro-wave technology expert Arralis and Ka-band communications specialist Avanti.
Paul Wells, Vice-President & Chief Commercial Officer at GovSat, said: “After a successful launch and great operational first year, GovSat is developing at a rapid pace. The Space Hub at DSEI 2019 is a great opportunity for the company to showcase its MilSatCom capabilities and services to governmental and institutional users.”
Donald Walker, Director, Defence & Security, said: “At Avanti we understand the modern data rich military landscape and the need to win the battle for information superiority. The Space Hub at DSEI 2019 is an exciting platform to demonstrate how our military grade satellite technology delivers innovative and bespoke solutions, supporting demanding and often time-critical missions wherever and whenever they are required.”
Gary Soul, Arralis Chief Marketing Officer said: “We are really excited to exhibit at DSEI this year in the Space Hub. We hope to meet lots of potential customers and partners. Our key capabilities are Ka, E and W band MMICs, modules and antennas at very high frequency levels. We will be showcasing our large range of products across W, Ka and E band as well as our GNSS multiband antennas.”
All the defence and security primes with strategic space capabilities, including BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, will also be represented at DSEI 2019.
DSEI 2019 will be a strategic exhibition and platform where the industry and delegations from around the world will be gather for a week to share and innovate in key sectors such as space.
At Viasat, we’re driven to connect every warfighter, platform, and node on the battlefield. As a global communications company, we power millions of fast, resilient connections for military forces around the world – connections that have the capacity to revolutionize the mission – in the air, on the ground, and at sea. Our customers depend on us for connectivity that brings greater operational capabilities, whether we’re securing the U.S. Government’s networks, delivering satellite and wireless communications to the remote edges of the battlefield, or providing senior leaders with the ability to perform mission-critical communications while in flight. We’re a team of fearless innovators, driven to redefine what’s possible. And we’re not done – we’re just beginning.