The United Kingdom (UK) has announced a plan to invest 1.4 billion pounds ($1.9 billion) in new low Earth orbit satellites and other space-related military technologies over the next 10 years.
A new military space strategy released on Tuesday outlines how the proposed spending would protect the country’s national interests in space amid evolving threats. It also highlights how the proposal will stimulate growth in the defense sector and support highly skilled jobs across the UK.
A large portion of the multibillion-dollar investment will go toward the development of a multi-satellite system for improved global surveillance and intelligence support for the military.
Around 61 million pounds ($69 million) will also be spent exploring cutting-edge laser communications technologies capable of delivering data from space “at a speed equivalent to superfast broadband.”
In addition to developing state-of-the-art space technologies, the UK said it plans to strengthen partnerships with key allies, particularly NATO members, to ensure stability and resilience in space.
The country has already invested a considerable amount of money upgrading its Skynet satellite communications capabilities to provide strategic communication services to the UK military and its allies.
‘Forefront of Space Innovation’
The new military space strategy will focus on addressing the threat of anti-satellite weapons and solidifying the role of the UK’s private space industry in developing vital capabilities for the military, according to a report by SpaceNews.
Under a program called Minerva, $143 million will be spent over the next four years developing a network of satellites designed to integrate space with land, air, sea, and cyber platforms.
Minerva will reportedly showcase the country’s ability to “autonomously collect, process, and disseminate data” from UK and allied space assets to support frontline military decision-making.
British defense secretary Ben Wallace expressed his belief that it is crucial for the UK to continue pushing for space defense to enhance the country’s military resilience and strengthen the nation’s security.
“This significant investment will help to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of space innovation and one step ahead of our competitors,” he noted.