Raymond: Space Force Looking at Partnering More with the UK

The newly formed U.S. Space Force is looking at future launches to bring on allied payloads or other ways to collaborate with the United Kingdom as a way to strengthen international cooperation in space, the head of the new service said.

U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, speaking July 15 at the virtual Air and Space Power Conference hosted by the United Kingdom Royal Air Force, said his service and the U.S. Air Force are looking at its future plans to find ways to bring in UK influence because of “mutual needs” of increased communications bandwidth and a more resilient architecture.

This includes possible joint hosted payloads or partnerships on Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite systems, the Evolved Strategic SATCOM program, and the Wideband Global SATCOM system. Additionally, the United Kingdom and the U.S. last month reached an agreement on technology safeguards to allow American companies to launch from the United Kingdom, Raymond said.

Raymond highlighted several U.K. servicemembers who work within the Space Force and U.S. Space Command as an example of how closely intertwined the two nations are in space operations.

“Our relationship with the Royal Air Force is a prime example of how our National Defense Strategy directs us to strengthen alliances. … We are stronger together, especially in the space domain,” he said.

Space capabilities, such as communication, surveillance, missile warning, and precision navigation and timing have shown to be “critical to our mutual defense,” he said. However, adversaries like Russia, China, and Iran know this and are working to counter the U.S. superiority, which also extends to allied operations.

Working with close allies like the United Kingdom, the Space Force is “designing architectures resilient to attack” so these capabilities can continue to be provided for U.S. and allied operations, he said.