The Ministry of Defence has launched a new communications satellite, making its Skynet comms network bigger and better than ever. And yes, it is called Skynet.
The UK’s Skynet system has been put in place by the MoD and private space firm Astrium, which put the latest Skynet 5D satellite up on an Ariane 5 rocket yesterday. It’s the fourth orbital part of the Skynet system, which the UK military has been gradually building since 2007.
Despite costing a whopping £3.6 billion over its 20 year lifespan, Skynet’s a bit of an earner for the MoD. Bandwidth not used by our troops is sold off to other friendly forces, with other Nato members also using this friendly Skynet to manage some communications.
As well as providing UHF radio channels to our troops, Skynet also runs the High Integrity Telecommunication System (HITS) for the government, which links police strategic command centres and government resources — and helped cover the Olympic security needs.