UK contractor BAE Systems Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) has delivered the first batch of six Talon satellite communications terminals to Paradigm Secure Communications for eventual use in the UK's Skynet 5 military communications satellite system.

In all, 15 such terminals will be acquired, with second and third tranches being scheduled for delivery during December 2002 and August 2003, respectively. Skynet 5 (scheduled for introduction by 2010) is being procured via the UK's Private Finance Initiative and will see (as a beginning) the transfer of the existing Skynet 4 from UK Ministry of Defence control to that of Paradigm. This transfer is scheduled to take place during mid-2003.

BAE Systems C4ISR describes Talon as being a lightweight, deployable terminal that is man-portable, makes use of carbon fibre in its construction and can be configured to operate in the C- (4 to 8 GHz), X- (8 to 12.5 GHz), Ku- (12.5 to 18 GHz) and Ka- (26.5 to 40 GHz) bands. Here, the necessary changes are described as being simple and involving the introduction of frequency specific feed arms and some key electronic components.

Talon is further noted as being fitted with either a 1.2, 1.9 or 2.4 m antenna dish, with an X-band 1.9 m configuration noted as being able to deliver a G/T value of better than 21 dB/k. The standard terminal includes all the functionality needed to support the required communications link (including antenna control and tracking, frequency conversion and the requisite modem functions) and is packed in four modular cases that can include heaters and cooling elements as required. Again using the 1.9 m dish configuration as an example, the equipment can be set-up in wind speeds of up to 15 m/s, can be operated in winds of up to 16 m/s and will survive gusts of up to 27 m/s.