EADS Astrium has selected Arianespace’s Ariane 5 for the launch of the third UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) next-generation secure military telecommunications satellite Skynet 5C. The EADS Astrium in-orbit delivery contract follows Paradigm Secure Communications’ recent amendment to the existing Skynet 5 Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract with the UK MoD.

The launch contract was signed at the end of December 2005. Arianespace was previously selected in 2004 for the launch of the first two Skynet 5 satellites – Skynet 5A and Skynet 5B. The launch of Skynet 5A is scheduled for the second half of 2006 with 5B in 2007 and 5C in 2008.

Skynet 5A and 5B will replace the existing Skynet 4 satellites, also built by EADS Astrium, which are already owned and operated by Paradigm Secure Communications.

In December 2005 Paradigm signed an amendment to the Skynet 5 contract to provide increased value for money to the UK MoD. A key feature of the amendment was to mitigate the effect of changes in the insurance market through the order and launch of a third satellite, Skynet 5C, and an associated increased concession period until 2020. Paradigm Secure Communications, part of EADS SPACE Services, signed a £2.5 billion PFI contract with the UK MoD in October 2003 for the provision of military satellite communications services.

EADS Astrium is Europe’s leading satellite system specialist. Its activities cover complete civil and military telecommunications and Earth observation systems, science and navigation programmes, and all spacecraft avionics and equipment.

EADS Astrium is a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS SPACE, which is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems. In 2004 EADS SPACE had a turnover of €2.6 billion and 11,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2004, EADS generated revenues of €31.8 billion and employed a workforce of more than 110,000.

Press contacts:

Jeremy Close, EADS SPACE (UK) +44 (0) 1438 773872

Rémi Roland, EADS SPACE (FR) +33 (0)1 42 24 27 34

Mathias Pikelj, EADS SPACE (GER) +49 (0)7545 8 91 23