31 Jan 02. The £1bn+ Skynet 5 announcement being competed by the Paradigm and Rosetta consortia is expected to be announced next week. The EAC meeting was held on January 14th with Ministerial and DTI presentations on 22nd and 24th.
Both consortia admit that the choice between the two bids is a close call and no clues are emerging from the DPA(See BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.4 ISSUE 4, January 31st 2002 and BATTLESPACE Vol. 4 Issue 10 2001).
In our last report we suggested that the Paradigm team were confident of victory. However unconfirmed reports suggest that the Rosetta team which includes Lockheed Martin, BT, BAE SYSTEMS and TRW may have pulled in front at the last minute. The Rosetta team has the strength of the Lockheed Martin military satellite capability as well as the BT expertise in PFI telecomms contracts it has acquired whilst bidding for, winning and operating DFTS. The Skynet system slots into DFTS so it may be that a seamless solution has proved more efficient. In addition it is understood that Lockheed Martin may have offered an improved offset package which gives the Astrium facility a deal of work on the payload to ensure that this European centre of excellence thrives. BAE SYSTEMS is on both consortia but has more to gain from Rosetta; the company has recently announced a number of Satcom leasing deals which would enhance the company’s involvement in Skynet 5.
In addition it has been suggested that certain parts of the military, notably the Royal Navy, may prefer a strong US team leading Skynet 5, which will provide closer and easier access to such items as fire control targeting data for Tomahawk missions. In addition the UK along with the Netherlands and Canada are reportedly negotiating space on the US EHF Milstar system when it becomes available.