Key Features of Skynet 5 for Military Satellite Communications Services

The Skynet 5 spacecraft was built with features perfectly suited to guarantee communications in the demanding military environment. The benefits of these features for our customers include:


Skynet 5 System FeaturesEnd User Benefit

High Power Narrow Transponders

  • 160W  transponders with bandwidths of 20MHz, 22MHz and 40Mhz
  • Up to 8W/MHz (more than 5 times that available on commercial grade systems)
  • High performance for small terminals and terminals on the edge of cover
  • Stable Eb/No & BER enabling the use of higher order modulation (up to 64QAM proven) thus providing very high speed data delivery (155Mbps) using only 40MHz of capacity.

The OBARA “On Board Active Receive Antenna” 

The OBARA enables multiple uplink beams to be formed across the global coverage region of each satellite. The associated beam forming networks can create over 50 independent gain areas, creating many multiple uplink beam patterns in the area of interest.

Example performances:

  • Wide beam: Typically covering whole continents and/or large ocean areas
  • Regional beam: Typically covering large operational areas
  • Increased uplink sensitivity where required
  • Shaped beams around interference 
  • Higher data throughput need from any terminal size
  • Bespoke customer uplink patterns to match customer requirements
  • The theatre uplink beam can track a deployed user requirement to ensure maximum data rates
  • Theatre beam allows use of micro VSAT antennas 0.45m or greater at >1Mbps

Steerable Spot Beams – placing downlink power where you need it:

  • 4 steerable downlinks per Skynet 5, 16 across the fleet
  •  Allows higher data rates to smaller terminals
  • Bespoke customer solutions tailored to customer requirements

Global X-band downlink and one global X-band uplink per satellite:

  • Global uplink beam - Typical edge of cover G/T >-10.2dB/K
  • Broadband communications for isolated users (for example mid ocean)
  • Global uplink beam offers the customer the greatest satellite coverage but balanced by a lower data rate 
  • Typically supports antennas 1.2m or greater at >1Mbps

Flexible Connectivity 

  • Highly flexible connectivity available between uplink and downlink beams
  • Multi-beam switching capability
  •  Complex connectivity can be set up to allow connectivity between users dispersed over several beams
  • Operator can manage the power and bandwidth available to the end user

Military Grade System

  • Military grade TT&C
  • Protected against nuclear events & space weather
  • NATO STANAG & MAC 1 compliant system
  • Control facilities & anchor sites secured to military specifications 
  • Beam shaping
High confidence that the system will not be disrupted by:
  • Hostile action
  • Unintentional actions
  • Environment
  • Equipment of process failures

Commercial Service Provision

  • 24/7 customer & technical support
  • Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with binding commitments
  • Any issues are resolved very quickly & efficiently 
  • Guarantees 99.9% availability 


Satellite Coverage Skynet 5 X-band


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