VSC 501 Enhanced
Satellite Ground Terminal
The VSC 501 Enhanced is a Land Rover based mobile satellite ground
terminal, which has recently been upgraded to automatically track
satellites in their figure of eight orbit. This equipment was first
used in the Falklands war in 1982 and is currently in service in Iraq
on Operation Telic. The VSC 501 terminals will be replaced by Reacher
when Skynet 5 is operational.
TALON Satellite Ground Terminal
Talon is a lightweight deployable terminal
to fulfil both tactical and strategic roles, it uses the best of the
civilian world packaged to provide a terminal suitable for military
Talon is easily transported and set up, by a crew of two trained
operators within 30 minutes. Control of the terminal is from a
ruggedised laptop at either the 'indoor' or remote location. Talon has
been successfully used by the ARRC (Allied Rapid Reaction Corps) in
Germany for one year and used extensively in the very harsh conditions
experienced during Operation Telic in Iraq, one such terminal
operating continuously for a period in excess of five months with no
REACHER Satellite Ground
Reacher is designated as the replacement for the VSC 501 and will be
provided in three types:
Reacher Medium - a fully ruggedised next-generation land terminal
specifically designed for X-Band Military Satellite Communications.
Designed to operate with a Forward Operating Headquarters Unit, it is
mounted on a Bucher Duro 6 x 6 vehicle and has a detachable
Intermediate Group cabin and associated trailer. Has a 2.4m Antenna.
Reacher Large - Mounted on the same vehicle as the Reacher Medium,
this unit has a 4.5 m Antenna.
Reacher All Terrain - This Reacher terminal is mounted on two BV206
vehicle and associated trailers.
All Reacher terminals are transportable using Chinook helicopters,
C130 Aircraft, sea and rail.
SKYNET 5 SATELLITE SERIES
A new series of SKYNET 5 satellites is
expected to enhance SATCOM facilities in the future. In 2003, the
Skynet 5 contract was awarded to Paradigm. The company is tasked with
delivering secure military satellite communications to UK armed forces
around the world.
The contract is worth around £2 billion over 20 years. This is one of
the largest private finance initiatives (PFI) of its kind. Skynet 5
became operational in 2007.
The capacity of Skynet 5 is expected to be about 2.5 times greater
than the existing system. Users will be able to send and receive
information much more quickly.
The Skynet 5 series (A, B and C) will deliver military satellite
communication services to the Armed Forces until 2018.
Skynet 5A: During April 2007 Skynet 5A was launched. Skynet 5A, is the
first of three satellites to be launched under a £3 billion Private
Finance Initiative (PFI) programme which has seen the UK MoD working
in partnership with Paradigm Secure Communications, who are the
service providers, and EADS-Astrium, who built the satellite itself.
The satellite, with its antenna technology and high power and data
rates, provides a significant enhancement to operational capability
for the UK Armed Forces - whether deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan or at
sea. It is also being used in the field of welfare services, to
provide 'free' messages between service personnel on operations and
their families and friends.
The Skynet 5A communications satellite, in orbit 40,000 km above the
earth's surface, beams communications signals between headquarters in
the UK and British forces deployed across the globe.
The next satellite, Skynet 5B, is due to be launched towards the end
of 2007 and Skynet 5C in 2008
As part of the MoD's Operational Welfare Package (OWP) Paradigm
Services provides entitled UK personnel on operational duty overseas
with 20 minutes of publicly funded calls per week. On top of this
personnel are enabled to augment their welfare allowance through the
purchase of £10 pre-paid phone cards.
Forces families can add extra credits to the welfare card. All that is
needed is their card number, a payment method and a call to Paradigm's
Customer Support number (01438 778181).
In new theatres, internet access is available for personnel both to
access Web sites and to sent and receive e-mail