BlackSky inked ~$50M-worth of contracts with the Indonesian Ministry of Defense to provide the agency access to the company’s commercial space-based intelligence, with plans to build a sovereign capability for the country down the road.
“With this new model, customers no longer need to spend billions of dollars and wait five to 10 years to build an operating capability,” CEO Brian O’Toole told Payload. “They can have it now.”
More details: Under the contracts, the ministry will immediately be able to task BlackSky’s commercial sats, and have access to its trove of commercial data. O’Toole said Indonesian officials are already getting trained on how to use the software system.
In addition, BlackSky will be working with Thales Alenia Space to build and deliver sovereign EO and SAR satellites quickly, giving the nation its own surveillance capability at a fraction of the cost and time of designing a homegrown capability.
“You can use this hybrid model where you can tap into the commercial satellites already on orbit and use those software platforms like ours to get intelligence, but then you can evolve your own sovereign capability around what you may need in your particular region of the world. It’s a best of both worlds approach,” O’Toole said.
Tick tock: O’Toole said the company approached the Indonesian Ministry of Defense and proposed the deal to both provide commercial access and build sovereign satellites, and that the Indonesian customer “got it right away.” The minister got access to real-time space intelligence less than a month after signing the contract.
What’s next: With rising defense budgets and a growing reliance on space-based intelligence globally, O’Toole predicted this won’t be the last international deal like this.
“For BlackSky, this is the beginning of many more of these types of solution offerings to this customer base,” he said.