Bumped into the beautiful,blonde, Blairite Baroness Ann Taylor ( Minister for Defence Equipment and Support ) who is excited to tell everyone that the third hugely expensive Skynet C satellite is aloft. (Note she doesn't seem to get the freebies to the sund and sand of Afghanistan like the men do)
Skynet C now joins Skynets A (launched March 07) and B ( November 07) aloft after a successful launch from Ariane Launch Complex No. 3 (ELA 3) in Kourou, French Guiana, South America at 11.0 o' clock last night, as we were getting our Horlicks and toddling off to sleep.
The Ariane 5 ECA rocket (183rd launch) , delayed from May 30th had a dual payload and also carried the Turksat 3A satellite - to be utilized by Ankara-based Turksat, providing telecommunication services and direct TV broadcasting of pornographic films for Turkey, Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia.
This Hi Tech wizardry provides global communications with a relay capability for UK armed forces and other government agencies, and also is available to approved international defense, governmental and multinational organizations - including NATO It also supplies a handsome and regular income and a stonking pile of dosh under a £3 Billion Private Finance Initiative (PFI) for Paradigm Secure Communications, and EADS-Astrium who built the satellite itself, partly at their unit in Stevenage.
Skynets world-beating antenna technology improves data rates, giving a significant enhancement to operational capability for UK forces.
Such as ...er... providing free messages between service personnel on operations and their families and friends.... which beats paying them a decent wage or providing decent married accomodation.
It also enables us to control the single armed Reaper UAV we have currently in operation over Afghanistan ,( of the three the MOD bought as an "Urgent Operational Requirement", ( 1 crashed 1 on backup delivery) for £50 Mn.) that can drop an LDGP Mark 82 Raytheon 500lb (226kg) Paveway II-class laser-guided bomb (£55,000 per shot) or fire a Lockheed Martin AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile(£70,000 per shot) on a land cruiser (when it is cloud free) or a building / compound (when it is cloud free) that operators are happy is free of civilians, women, children etc.,
This Paveway bomb is different from the "enhanced" version 1,000 lb Paveway bomb on the GR9A Harriers in Afghanistan developed by
hastily cobbling together joining the body from a UK Paveway 2 and the Enhanced Computer Control Group from a Paveway 4 as an "Urgent Operational Requirement". "Make do and mend dear boys ...."
This hybrid weapon gives the GR9A an integrated, precision bombing capability, through cloud ...which, given the mountains there, happens not infrequently.
2 members of the Parachute regiment on foot Patrol in Sangin, Helmand came under enemy fire and were killed and another was injured yesterday. 5 members of the regiment have been killed in 5 days - the worst experience since the Falklands war..
Pic of "Mike" Jackson in Macedonia where things are nicely hotting up for EU/NATO forces .. daer old Mike..."The Army looks after it's own" .. Jackson. The Lion of Basra.