With an increasing amount of the UK’s military systems now dependent on space technology, the UK government has announced its first ever Defence Space Strategy.
RAF Air Command has assumed responsibility for command and control of UK military space operations to defend the UK’s interests in space.
The Defence Secretary has also confirmed his intention to boost the 500 personnel currently working in the UK defence space sector to 600 over the next five years.
The new Strategy, expected in the summer, will set out plans to protect UK operations against emerging space-based threats such as jamming of civilian satellites used for broadcasters and satellite navigation to support military capabilities
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We must make sure we are primed and ready to deter and counter the intensifying threats to our everyday life that are emerging in space. That’s why today I’m announcing the RAF is taking the lead in this area and why we plan to increase the number of personnel covering space.
“Satellite technology is not just a crucial tool for our Armed Forces but vital to our way of life, whether that be access to our mobile phones, the internet or television. It is essential we protect our interests and assets from potential adversaries who seek to cause major disruption and do us harm.”
Williamson also revealed that the UK will review its participation in the EU’s Galileo satellite programme.
A statement said: “Participation in Galileo with the appropriate level of access and involvement remains our preferred option, however we are working on alternative options, and as part of this the MOD will work with the UK Space Agency to explore opportunities for UK companies.”
Late last year, Simon Henley, President-Elect of the Royal Aeronautical Society, is reported to have told MPs that British firms are being “excluded” from bidding for lucrative space contracts, such as those which are part of the Galileo programme, because of concerns over Brexit.