Often described as the next battlespace, space is set to play a key role as nations define their future defence strategies.
The UK’s investment into space defence
Last summer saw the MOD outline its ambitious space programme, which includes £30 million worth of funding for space projects. The Joint Forces Command was renamed Strategic Command to better reflect the contribution it makes to defence. This included the new addition of developing capabilities in space and cyber domains – in addition to land, sea and air.
The UK will become the first partner to join the US-lead Operation Olympic Defender, a coalition formed to strengthen deterrence against hostile powers and reduce debris in orbit. The UK will send eight personnel to the Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC) in California to join the US and international partners.
International spend on space defence
Unsurprisingly, the world’s biggest spender on defence, the United States, recently announced the creation of a Space Force – effectively a new arm of the US military on a par with the more traditional forces of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
This was swiftly followed by the recent appointment of its first Chief of Space Operations for the newly created US Space Force.
The US Space Force’s will be responsible for training, equipping and organising a cadre of space professionals who protect US and allied interests in space while also providing space capabilities to the joint force.
The Space Force’s mandate includes developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, refining military doctrine for space power, and organising space forces for use by combatant commands.
The threat from superpowers such as Russia and China as they pursue their own space warfighting capabilities as well as other actors looking to carry out counter-space capabilities such as jamming, dazzling and cyber attacks means the UK and US are far from alone in turning its attention to space in matters of defence.
France announced last July that it is to invest a further €700 million in military space by 2025 to bolster its surveillance capabilities and create its own defence capabilities in space. This sum is in addition to the €3.6 billion previously slated for military space programs in the 2019-2025 Military Program Law.
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For companies looking to break into in this marketplace, investment is expected to heavily increase with more opportunities available in the fields of space research, exploration and industrialisation.
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