Analyst have heralded the successful launch of the UK’s new secure military communications satellite, Skynet 5A as a valuable component of its "network enabled capability".

"Modern warfare is all about information," Bill Sweetman, Jane's Information Group technology and aerospace editor told BBC News. "Every piece of satellite bandwidth is valuable and the military is always hungry for more.

Sweetman cited the example of communicating with unmanned air vehicles, which generate a lot of imagery that has to be passed via a secure communications link. “Modern warfare involves passing around a lot of data, and that puts a premium on satellite capacity," he said.

Skynet 5A replaces Skynet 4 and is the first in a three-satellite constellation that will provide UK armed forces with greater bandwidth capabilities in operational areas. It is part of the £3.2-billion private finance initiative (PFI) led by manufacturer EADS Astrium.

The PFI was established in 2003 for EADS Astrium subsidiary, Paradigm Secure Communications to take over and run the military’s satellite communications network.