05 Nov 19. Serco, the UK based international services company, announces its intention to bid as Prime Contractor for the future UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) requirement for a successor to the current Skynet 5 support contract, known as ‘Service Delivery Wrap’ (SDW), and will be leading a team of specialist system integrators and world class aerospace companies.
The Serco led consortium will comprise global defence and aerospace company Lockheed Martin, global IT specialist CGI and UK satellite operator Inmarsat, the world leader in global, mobile satellite communications, supported by a number of other highly skilled providers from across the domain. Serco and Lockheed Martin have worked together on a number of UK defence programmes over many years, whilst Serco, CGI and Inmarsat have worked closely together on the current Skynet 5 service from the start of its delivery. All the partners have a strong UK presence and track record with the UK MOD and wider space sector.
Kevin Craven Serco Chief Executive, UK & Europe, said: “I am delighted to be able to announce the formation of such a strong team, creating great balance between programme transition risk management as well as providing the MOD with access to best of breed capabilities and innovation.
“Our consortium brings many years of experience of working on UK eyes-only critical defence contracts, combined with world leading expertise and technology. The team has decades of experience of delivering mission critical military communications services to both UK military and ‘5 eyes’ customers. Together we can guarantee the UK MOD highly credible continuity of service as well as exciting opportunities for innovation.”
The MOD has issued its Pre- Qualification Questionnaire today for the Skynet 6 Service Delivery Wrap (SDW) phase, which will ensure successful transition and continuous delivery of service for future Skynet operations. The contract is expected to commence in 2021 with a one year transition phase prior to the end of the current Private Finance Initiative arrangement in 2022, under which both the current satellites and the support services were procured. MOD is also expected to facilitate future technology upgrades and satcom approaches for a longer-term contract, known as Skynet Enduring Capability (EC).
BATTLESPACE Comment: This is a smart move by Serco and very unexpected as the company has not been associated with satcom and space in the past. In forming this consortium of bidders Serco has hoovered up many of the major players associated with the Skynet 6 bid. It also signals another move in the bidding process majoring on outsourcing not indigenous sovereign capability. The fact that a services company is Priming this bid, signals to BATTLESPACE that the MoD is looking strongly at a service provision-led bid for Skynet 6, not one of a solely owned government constellation such as the Skynet 5 model. This team also lays down the gauntlet to Airbus who many thought were a shoe-in for Skynet 6 given their position as incumbent manager. We expect further announcements on the technology for the next order of satellites for Skynet 6, which are expected to be ordered on an incremental basis to allow for technology improvements. Airbus should be the winner for these but expect more outsourcing of service contracts on a flexible basis to meet BVLOS Requirements for Skynet 6. (See: Caveat Emptor! Satellite 2019 Shows Huge Sea Change In Technology By Julian Nettlefold, BATTLESPACE Features)