Latest News

BlackSky CEO Details Sovereign Deal with Indonesian MoD 

By Rachel Jewett | February 8, 2024

BlackSky satellite imagery collected over Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo: BlackSky

BlackSky Technology shared more details this week about a recent $50 million deal to supply subscription imagery and analytics to the Indonesian Ministry of Defense (MoD). In this deal, the Indonesian MoD will integrate BlackSky’s software and hardware capabilities into a sovereign capability. 

BlackSky received a contract from Thales Alenia Space supporting the MoD to deliver Gen-3 Earth observation satellites, ground station capabilities and flight operations support. These sovereign satellites for Indonesia will share the same capabilities as BlackSky’s Gen-3 satellites. In addition, the Indonesian MoD now has a subscription to BlackSky’s imagery and analytics services, with guaranteed access and priority tasking capacity over national areas of interest. BlackSky will also work with Indonesian state tech company PT Len to develop a sovereign software for the country. These multi-year contracts have a combined value of approximately $50 million dollars.

The result is a sovereign capability for Indonesia that is based on BlackSky’s satellite technology and software. BlackSky, along with Thales, first announced the agreement in December. This is the first time BlackSky has named an individual customer, outside of U.S. government awards. 

BlackSky CEO Brian O’Toole sees it as the beginning of a new phase of acquisition and adoption models in the industry, in which customers can access the company’s software immediately, and receive support to build a sovereign capability over time.

“We’re seeing that customers want to leverage not only [BlackSky’s] commercial imagery and analytics services, but also want to accelerate their sovereign development and capabilities,” O’Toole told Via Satellite. “They want to leverage commercial technologies like our hardware or our software to do that in a very fast and cost effective manner. This expands our offerings to these customers. We’re in a long-term partnership. We plan to be there with them as they evolve their capability over decades to come.”

This deal is part of a trend as BlackSky continues to observe increased demand for sovereign capabilities around the world. 

“Defense budgets for international ministries of defense are growing as a percentage of their GDPs, pretty significantly. A good percentage of those increases are directed toward space capabilities,” O’Toole said. “We’re seeing countries all over the world that are now putting serious efforts toward expanding their space capabilities.” 

O’Toole said this deal demonstrates the company’s software-first strategy.

“You can have satellites but if you don’t have software that people can use easily to get the information they need, it’s meaningless,” he said. “This Indonesian deal is a lighthouse for using software to enable immediate accessibility and training and insights. Then you can grow that over time. The advanced processing and intelligence can be developed over time. We purpose-built the company for this, with proprietary, dynamic monitoring capability and industry-leading software and AI capability, combined with rapid and agile satellite design and manufacturing capability.”