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BT plc, NSSLGlobal and Viasat Form Alliance to Deliver Innovation in UK MOD Satellite Communications Capabilities

June 17, 2020

 Industry-leading global communications companies, BT plc (BT), NSSLGlobal Ltd and Viasat UK Ltd., a subsidiary of Viasat, Inc. announced an alliance to deliver critical defence satellite communications (SATCOM) services, and support modernisation of the UK's defence and space sectors. The Alliance has come together to respond to major UK MOD programmes, including bidding for the 'Service Delivery Wrap' (SDW) component of Skynet 6, a MOD SATCOM programme that is expected to be awarded in 2022. The Alliance will provide fully managed best-in-class SATCOM solutions. 

In addition to supporting current MOD programmes, the Alliance is strongly positioned to contribute to the developing UK agenda around defence and space technologies. The Alliance provides leadership in SATCOM, cybersecurity, service delivery, tactical networking, artificial intelligence and emerging technologies.

All three companies bring exceptionally strong track records in working with the MOD and other defence and government organisations around the world.

BT plc: Under the MOD's Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service (DFTS) contract, BT has more than 20 years of experience in providing highly-secure, resilient connectivity and voice, data and video conferencing services to 2,000 MOD sites in the UK and overseas. As part of the MOD's Integrated User Services (IUS) contract, BT provides fixed and mobile voice services to hundreds of thousands of military personnel in the UK and globally.

NSSLGlobal: The UK company, NSSLGlobal, is an established provider in the existing Skynet 5 UK MOD contract eco-system. Since 1982, NSSLGlobal has been providing communications technology for the Royal Navy delivering custom SATCOM and engineering solutions for all Royal Navy platforms. In addition, NSSLGlobal supports Royal Air Force platforms and Army users with lightweight, rapidly deployable commercial SATCOM capabilities.  NSSLGlobal works closely in partnership with the UK MOD on projects needing engineering innovation, bringing maximum performance and value for money for secure operational traffic and welfare connectivity services.

Viasat UK Ltd: Viasat UK Ltd. provides deep security and communications expertise to rapidly deliver new sovereign technologies to the UK defence and civilian markets. Specific to the UK defence market, Viasat UK Ltd., works closely with Viasat Inc., which has been recognised for developing an expansive portfolio of capabilities across SATCOM, tactical networking, information assurance and cybersecurity. Today, Viasat Inc. has more capacity on orbit than any other private sector SATCOM provider in the world, and with its future ViaSat-3 constellation, the Company expects to have more geostationary earth orbit (GEO) satellite capacity on orbit than every private sector GEO SATCOM provider combined. Viasat Inc.'s security, encryption, next-generation tactical data links and SATCOM systems are also currently used across multiple UK MOD programmes, from the Royal Air Force's new F-35 stealth fighter to Royal Navy warships.

Ed Stainton, director of Major Government, BT, said, "The combined strengths of this new alliance will bring leading edge technical expertise to the MOD across maritime, air, land, space and cyber environments. We will build on a strong innovation culture, and access to best-of-breed technologies to work collaboratively with our alliance partners, to deliver military-grade, mission-critical communications services to the MOD and other government departments. For BT, this is an example of how we are striving to do the best for our customers and for our country."

Neil Fraser, director – Defence and Space Programmes, NSSLGlobal, said, "As a British company, we have a strong 40-year 'tried and tested' heritage of working in partnership with the UK Armed Forces. The expertise of our dedicated staff and engineers is one of our key assets, providing innovative communications across sea, land and air. The strength of this alliance is embedded in our shared values of providing excellent service and our complementary skills and expertise."

Steve Beeching, managing director, Government Systems, Viasat UK Ltd., added, "We bring deep expertise in working with the MOD and an extensive track record of innovative credentials to this team. In collaborating with BT and NSSLGlobal, we will be able to provide crucial advancements from the defence and commercial sectors to quickly modernise the UK's Armed Forces capabilities and make the battlespace network of the future a reality for our service men and women. Together, this alliance is poised to become a national asset to the MOD for current and future communications and space programmes as it has the ability to enhance information advantage by utilising some of the world's leading SATCOM, tactical networking, cyber and emerging defence technologies."

The UK MOD launched the SDW competition on 5 November 2019 in support of the Skynet 6 programme. The SDW programme will comprise a five-year service management effort in support of Skynet 6 and replace the current Skynet 5 contract scheduled to deliver SATCOM services to the UK MOD until August 2022.