RAF Fylingdales Night Sky, UK invest 1.4 billion on national interests in space DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT MOD.jpg.jpg
A night sky at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire, which falls under UK Space Command, provides a continuous ballistic missile early warning service to the UK and US governments (Picture: MOD).
Space

UK Space Defence: £1.4bn boost for cutting edge technology

Publication of the first Defence Space Strategy outlines how defence will protect the UK's national interests in space.

RAF Fylingdales Night Sky, UK invest 1.4 billion on national interests in space DATE UNKNOWN CREDIT MOD.jpg.jpg
A night sky at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire, which falls under UK Space Command, provides a continuous ballistic missile early warning service to the UK and US governments (Picture: MOD).

As part of the first Defence Space Strategy (DSS), the UK will invest £1.4bn into bolstering its national interests in space.

The DSS, published on Tuesday, outlines how defence will protect the UK's national interests in space in an era of ever-growing threats, stimulating growth across the sector and supporting highly skilled jobs across the UK.

This substantial investment in space defence is on top of the £5bn already upgrading the UK's Skynet satellite communications capability – providing strategic communication services to the UK Armed Forces and allies.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace called it "crucial" that the UK continues to push the frontiers of defence space ambitions, enhance military resilience and strengthen the nation's security.

He said: "This significant investment will help to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of space innovation and one step ahead of our competitors."

As part of the new £1.4bn investment, over the next 10 years £968m will be committed to delivering a multi-satellite system to support greater global surveillance and intelligence for military operations – known as the ISTARI Programme. 

A further £61m will explore cutting-edge laser communications technology to deliver data from space to Earth at a speed equivalent to superfast broadband.

Watch: The UK made a giant leap when Space Command became official.

Through close international collaboration with UK allies and NATO, the DSS outlines how the UK will protect space interests, build stability, increase resilience and prevent conflicts from extending into space.

In addition to projects funded by the £1.4bn, a series of supporting programmes funded through existing investment will launch as part of the DSS to provide cutting-edge technologies for intelligence, surveillance, situational awareness, and command and control.

Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said: "With this strategy, the MOD will protect and promote the UK's interests in space, and take a leading role in the coalition of like-minded nations and organisations who have come together to ensure space is there for the benefit of all."