Astrium Services2003-04-24 14:40:49

Paradigm is the Troops' Link Home from the Gulf

- Over 40,000 troops serving in the current Gulf conflict are keeping in touch with family and friends using Paradigm's welfare communications service
- The first communications cabin has already gone live in Umm Qasr
- Paradigm has been under contract to the MOD to satisfy their welfare communications requirements since 1999 and has had a major impact on troops and their loved ones at home - expectations of the service are now high
- 15 self-contained, air-conditioned cabins are currently deployed in 5 countries across the Gulf region, containing around 350 telephone handsets and 200 PCs
- Paradigm has introduced some 1,000 IRIDIUM and GLOBALSTAR satellite communications handsets into the Middle East for welfare calls
- RN / RFA access is provided via 35 Maritime INMARSAT terminals and 34 MENTOR lines
- 700,000 disposable welfare cards, 40,000 account cards and 100,000 £10 private cards - available to purchase in theatre - have been produced specifically for this MOD Operation
- 1,500,000 minutes of calls were connected in the first 6 weeks of the deployment
- Paradigm is the BFPO's primary ‘ebluey' carrier, delivering 95% of all ‘eblueys' sent / received

Paradigm Customer Support recently received an e-mail stating: "I can only praise your service. Having been in the Services for over 30 years, believe me the alternative of past times, i.e. no communications at all, is not somewhere we want to go to again, so thank you for what you provide.�

Paradigm Services has been satisfying UK MOD requirements for a welfare communications service for troops on ‘entitled operations' overseas since April 2000. Initially, this entailed provision of telecommunications facilities, but the service soon expanded to incorporate Internet / E-mail access in all new theatres. The troops had never before been able to keep in touch with home so easily - a vital part of morale whilst away.

Over the years Paradigm has developed a close working relationship with the MOD, which has been essential to the smooth delivery of services, especially into new operational locations. Since late 2002, Paradigm has been devising and implementing a dynamic equipment deployment and support plan to satisfy the MOD's plans, requirements and evolving priorities for the Gulf. Paradigm's first-in equipment was in theatre, along with on-site emergency support engineers, in time for the arrival of initial force elements and provision has increased in line with troop numbers. Paradigm's engineers remain in-situ, living and working alongside the troops, and have been provided with body armour and full NBC warfare training.

Paradigm delivers this service using the most cost-effective and practical method for the required location, troop levels and environment. Where appropriate, for example in Bahrain, Paradigm provides international freephone access or GSM mobile telephone services and as the largest commercial user of Iridium airtime, Paradigm has introduced some 1,000 IRIDIUM and GLOBALSTAR satellite communications handsets into the Gulf region. Where large numbers of troops are deployed, VSAT satellite communications cabins are equipped with telephones and PCs which connect directly to Paradigm's hub at Stevenage in the UK. 15 of these self-contained, air-conditioned cabins are currently deployed in 5 countries across the Gulf region, containing around 350 telephone handsets and 200 PCs. Significant amounts of equipment, the equivalent of 14 double-decker buses, have been moved from locations such as the Balkans, Oman and the UK, transported by sea / air using military and commercial means. Paradigm's equipment displacements mirror troop movements closely. Cabins will be commissioned as soon as an area is declared stable - Umm Qasr being the initial example, with other Iraqi locations expected to be announced in future. Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels also receive the Paradigm welfare service.

Paradigm's service is accessed using either 20-minute disposable welfare cards, issued weekly, or account cards, credited with 20 minutes of calls each Sunday. For this operation alone, over 700,000 disposable welfare cards and 40,000 account cards are already available for land-based and naval troops respectively. In excess of 100,000 £10 private cards have also been dispatched to over 60 NAAFI, EFI and BFPO outlets, enabling troops to purchase additional calling time. Upon MOD request, a compassionate card has now been introduced for use in exceptional circumstances.

The MOD's British Forces Post Office (BFPO) also makes use of Paradigm's welfare communications service to enable delivery of ‘e-bluey' electronic letters sent via the Web at one end and printed out and delivered like a letter at the other end (this works both to and from the troops abroad). A BFPO representative recently commented: "The satellite telephones we are using in the Middle East are proving to be extremely reliable and this is allowing us to provide a quite exceptional e-bluey service." In previous major deployments the number of e-blueys transmitted in any one month has not exceeded 22,000. Current operations have led to the transmission of 244,000 e-blueys over the past month, with one location downloading in excess of 7,000 e-blueys a day using a single satellite telephone.

Paradigm Services is a key member of the Paradigm team, which is led by Paradigm Secure Communications and was selected as the UK MOD's preferred bidder for the Skynet 5 programme in Spring 2002. As progress is made towards contract award, Paradigm Services is looking forward to becoming the service delivery company for the Skynet 5 PFI programme. At Skynet 5 contract award, both Paradigm companies will be wholly owned by the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, EADS.

For more information contact:
Astrium Site
Gunnels Wood Road
United Kingdom
Tel:     +44 1438 778181



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