world war E
dispatches from the network society

skynet 2007

In March, the British military launched the rather unfortunately-named SKYNET 5A communications satellite, the first of three satellites intended to boost intercommunication and interoperability among the British army, navy and air force. The satellite is reportedly hardened against intercept and cyber-interference. As Jane’s Information Group noted of the launch:

Modern warfare is all about information. Every piece of satellite bandwidth is valuable and the military is always hungry for more…

Take for example the capability of unmanned air vehicles. These generate a lot of imagery and that has to be passed over a secure communications link. Modern warfare involves passing around a lot of data, and that puts a premium on satellite capacity.

British commanders on the ground in Afghanistan report that SKYNET is “making a clear difference already”, especially in anticipation of the deployment of Predator UAVs.

The second and third SKYNET satellites are expected to launch at the end of 2007 and in mid-2008, respectively.

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