Skynet is the British Military Satellite Communications project which began in the 1960s to provide independent secure communications for forces operating in the Far East. Skynet and other Space operations have always been the remit of the RAF as satellite launch vehicles were derived from the ballistic missiles in use by the RAF for defensive purposes during the Cold War. Prior to the operation of Skynet; the UK used American satellite communication systems.
The follow-on to Skynet 2, designated Skynet 3, never materialized. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, military budgets were reduced and Skynet 3 was cancelled in 1974 as the UK withdrew from "East of Suez". During this period, apart from the single Skynet 2B satellite the UK used American owned communications satellites.
The year 1982 saw the commencement of the Falklands War and brought home to the government the need for an independent satellite communications system to support UK forces during conflicts in which the USA was not involved. The Skynet 4 series of spacecraft was successfully deployed during 1988-1990.
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