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The UK Launches $1.8 Billion Bidding War To Upgrade Satellite System Named SKYNET

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The UK’s Ministry of Defense (MoD) launched a £1.5 billion procurement notice for SKYNET, a satellite communications network.

The MoD recently published a notice launching a competition for contractors to provide, “the next era of satellite communications to the MoD using new space assets.” While the MoD’s SKYNET is a network of satellite communications, in the popular fictional movie series Terminator, it is an artificial superintelligence system intent on wiping out mankind.

The notice adds that the procurement is for “the design, manufacture and post-design services of up to three wideband GEO satellite systems, associated ground equipment, and launch operations incorporating measures to deliver an Assured Capability.”

The Assured Capability policy is to ensure that the MoD understands the vulnerabilities, effectiveness, and capabilities of the technology at every stage of development.

The 2020 notice added: “To meet these additional demands, the MoD SKEC team want to build a network of satellites, ground stations and other user services to provide first-class communications for government, allies and especially our defense personnel, whether they’re on operational duty or keeping in touch with family and friends while deployed.”

Why the MoD chose to name a satellite communications system the same as a villainous artificial superintelligence system, albeit in a fictional film, is not clear.

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