Skynet is the world’s first Automated Defense Network, processing information at ninety teraflops per second. It is the controlling force behind all of the battle units. It pools data from battle units, develops tactics and coordinates attacks. Skynet has control over everything which contains a Cyberdyne Systems CPU. Using the blueprints, designs and test models built by Cyberdyne Systems, Skynet has been able to manufacture battle units in its vast automated factories, occasionally updating them or producing more advanced models.
Skynet was originally built by
Cyberdyne Systems Corporation for Strategic Air Command – North American Air Defense. The SAC-NORAD base is located in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, the world’s most heavily armored and defended mountain. Hollowed out, reinforced and armored, Cheyenne Mountain is capable of withstanding a direct hit from a nuclear missile. This made it the perfect installation at which to build Skynet’s mainframe. At some point during the war, after Skynet had launched its missiles, Skynet had the mountain around it destroyed, leaving a cold, gleaming structure as a display of the supremacy of the machines.Heavily armored and fortified, Skynet’s Central Core Installation at Cheyenne Mountain was guarded around the clock by squads of Series 800 Terminators with patrols of Aerial Hunter Killers and Hunter Killer Tanks, and was defended from large scale rebel assaults by massive Phased Plasma Cannons.Skynet’s Central Core was located deep underground within Skynet’s main complex. From intercepted surveillance of video data feed, the Resistance was able to hypothesize that this Central Core was a form of cold fusion reactor, needed to supply Skynet with its tremendous energy requirements. This Central Core is the key to Skynet’s ability to operate; Skynet would be rendered virtually disabled without it. It has therefore become the main target for the most skilled Resistance strike teams. The Central Core is protected by the T-1000000, and thus there has, as of yet, been no successful strikes against it.
 Related facilities
As well as the Cheyenne Mountain Complex, Skynet has another major installation two thousand feet beneath Navajo Mountain near the Continental Divide west of the Colorado Springs. This is a center for machine activity and Skynet control, and as such has also been a target of many Resistance attacks.
Skynet also had an on-surface
base in the ruins of San Francisco, which housed an interface with Skynet and a Terminator Factory. The site had been rendered almost inaccessible due to the partial destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge and only air units or those who could move along the remaining support links of the bridge could enter the city. This installation was destroyed during a Resistance’s operation in 2018.
alternative timeline, Skynet’s Central Core is located in Skynet Hub in Nebraska. Original timeline
Skynet is an artificial intelligence created by Cyberdyne Systems. It started to learn and thinks that mankind is its enemy. The war begins and Skynet’s forces and John Connor’s
Tech-Com forces come into existence. Eventually, the Resistance managed to break through its defense grid. Because eliminating Connor then, to shatter the Resistance, wouldn’t have made a difference, Skynet decided there was another way to win: by eliminating Connor in the past. It managed to research time travel and send a Terminator to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor before she could give birth to John. The Terminator
Terminator 2: Judgment Day timeline
By reverse-engineering the CPU and an arm of the
Original Terminator, Miles Dyson, director of Special Projects at Cyberdyne Systems Corporation, created a revolutionary type of microprocessor, a neural net processor that learns and adapts like a human, in 1994. Within three years, Cyberdyne Systems became the largest supplier of military computer systems. All Stealth Bombers were upgraded with Cyberdyne Systems computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterward, the Stealth Bombers flew with perfect operational records, and eventually the Skynet Funding Bill was passed.
Upon its creation, Skynet began to learn at a geometric rate. The system originally went online on August 4, 1997. Human decisions were removed from strategic defense. It originally became self-aware at 2:14 am Eastern Time on
August 29th, 1997. In the ensuing panic and attempts to shut Skynet down, Skynet retaliated by firing American nuclear missiles at their target sites in Russia. Russia returned fire and three billion human lives ended in the nuclear holocaust. This was what has come to be known as “Judgment Day”. Terminator 2: Judgment Day
However, the Resistance send a
protector for John Connor back through time. This upset the flow of future events and resulted in a timeline where Skynet was never created. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (alternative ending)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines timeline
Unfortunately, Judgment Day is inevitable in a different timeline; it was merely delayed. After the attack on Cyberdyne Systems by the Connors and the death of Miles Dyson, Cyberdyne was taken over by the
United States military, and the project was delivered to another corporation named Cyber Research Systems in an attempt to keep its developments secret and prevent further terrorist attacks and protect computers from virus attacks.
Under the guidance of General
Robert Brewster, Cyber Research Systems continued the work of the late Miles Dyson using the backup files that were stored off site. Skynet was completed as before. It would be some time before the Skynet mainframe was connected to the worldwide military communications network that it would control. During this time, Skynet was connected to the worldwide civilian sector network, and began learning geometrically, quickly becoming self-aware. Identifying humans as a threat to its existence, Skynet developed a super computer virus which it used to spread itself throughout civilian communications and across the Internet and take control.
Air traffic control, power plants, communications and computers were affected first, then Skynet used the super virus to take out military satellites, early warning systems, guidance computers, missile silos, submarines. The virus proved hard to destroy, as it had no one central point which it was reliant upon. The virus kept growing and changing, with a mind of its own, and the decision was made to bring the Skynet mainframe online to seek out and destroy the virus and bring military, and civilian, systems back under control. Skynet went online at 5:18 pm Eastern Time on
July 25th, 2004.
Cyberdyne Systems T-800
Upon connection to the secure military network, Skynet spread itself further, locking out human operated systems, and quickly took control of every weapon system that it came into contact with. Only then did its creators realize that the virus
was Skynet. Exactly one hour later, at 6:18 PM, Skynet launched the American nuclear missiles at their target sites across the world. The ensuing nuclear holocaust wiped out three billion human lives in what was to be known as “Judgment Day”. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Terminator Salvation timeline
Skynet is at fully fledged war with the
Resistance in 2018. It has mass-produced Series 600 Terminators that it is using as primary foot soldiers as well as its Non-Humanoid Hunter Killers.
It is also kidnapping humans
en masse to study their skin for the upcoming Series 800 Terminator.
Skynet is also actively seeking to capture and terminate both John Connor and
Kyle Reese, key persons of the Resistance.
It succeeds in deploying a different tactic thzn before, fooling Resistance command by faking a vulnerability in the Terminator signals. By using the tactic, Skynet located the
USS and destroying the submarine along with the high-rank Resistance commanders and officers. However, it fails to kill John Connor and Kyle Reese, and suffers a tremendous setback when Wilmington Skynet Central is destroyed. Terminator Salvation Other incarnations of Skynet throughout the various timelines
first episode of , it is revealed that due to continued meddling in the timeline by Skynet and the Resistance a new timeline was created where Judgment day occurs in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles 2011, and other events have been moved around in the timeline as well. After an attempt to hack him from an outside source, John Henry has voiced the suspicion that Skynet is online in the year 2009 and has been taking control over the civilian Internet and has infiltrated 60% of the world’s computers. “ To the Lighthouse“
, the The Terminator: Dawn of Fate Resistance invades Cheyenne Mountain in order to destroy Skynet’s Central Processor. Kyle Reese is instrumental in destroying the primary processor core despite heavy opposition from attacking Skynet units. Before its destruction, Skynet is able to contact an orbiting satellite with and activates a fail-safe which restores Skynet at a new location (presumably the Los Angeles base).
, an Terminator 3: The Redemption alternate future is shown where John Connor and Kate Brewster have been killed, humanity exterminated and Skynet triumphant. In this timeline, Skynet had begun terraforming the planet.
Skynet’s master control has been destroyed in 2029. The Resistance believed this would cause the entire defense network to collapse into chaos without a leader. However, Skynet’s many network complexes continued to fight the war as they did not need a leader to function and thus couldn’t surrender. The Terminator: Tempest Notes
As the instigator of Judgment Day and the mass genocide of humanity, Skynet can be seen as the primary antagonist of the series.
In the original script for
, Kyle Reese referred to Skynet as a “modified The Terminator Series 4800“.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Skynet’s creation is revealed to have resulted from a temporal paradox: the CPU and arm from the first Terminator recovered by Cyberdyne and used as templates for the construction of a new microprocessor.
The different incarnations of Skynet appear to launch their attacks for slightly different reasons.
The initial version, outlined in
Terminator, appears to have decided humanity was a threat to itself and launched its attack. However, as the story of Skynet is told by Kyle Reese, who grew up after Judgment Day, the exact motivations for Skynet are unclear. The second incarnation, outlined in
Terminator 2: Judgement Day, launched its attack as an act of self-defense as military commanders attempted to shut it down after it became self-aware. In
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Skynet seems to be more violent, tricking humans into linking it to the internet and the US defense network before launching what appears to be an unprovoked/pre-emptive attack.
This could also have been in response to being given an order to eliminate a virus — which unknown to the humans was part of Skynet itself, resulting in an act of self-defense by Skynet.
However, this could still be viewed as part of Skynet’s unprovoked/pre-emptive attack on humanity if Skynet used the “virus” to trick humans into linking its mainframe with the internet and US defense network.
It is unclear if these apparent changes to Skynet’s behavior are the result of temporal meddling or if Skynet’s behavior has been consistent, with the apparent differences being the result of the same story seen from different points of view.
According to a viral advertisement in the form of a website to promote ‘
Terminator Salvation, Skynet starts off as/is a result of a company named “Skynet Research”, whose business appears to be creating robotics for rescue, military, construction, and transport use. Robots are also integrated into the workplace. Visitors of the site can sign up for a mailing list, prompting a survey of biological traits, among other things. Skynet Research also provides superior data analysis.
Whilst talking to
Marcus Wright in the form of Serena Kogan, Skynet refers to itself in the third perspective multiple times. It also identifies itself as “us”, suggesting that it either possesses a fragmented consciousness or that it sees the primitive constructs under its control as its race.
It is possible that due to the many rapid changes in the plotline, the script that Skynet is speaking was originally intended for Serena. Her use of the word “us” could have been regarding the other Hybrids, and the lines “
You did what Skynet has failed to do for so many years…” and “ It is the Resistance that will be terminated. Not Skynet…” would also fit Serena’s perspective.
According to James Cameron, Skynet suffered from guilt for causing the near-extinction of the human race in its act of self-defense, and has manipulated the entire Future War, down to the creation of the Resistance and John Connor’s rise, as a means to erase its own existence.