Boeing has been awarded an Air Force contract worth $182 million to begin work on the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite. The new spacecraft is being procured under the WGS Block II follow-on contract. The contract will ultimately include options for production of up to six WGS satellites, which are the highest-capacity communications satellites in the U.S. Department of Defense’s arsenal.
"In a time of budgetary pressures, the award of this contract signifies the high-priority need of U.S. warfighters around the world for responsive and robust wideband communications," said Air Force Col. Don Robbins, WGS Group Commander. "It also recognizes the outstanding service being provided to our warfighters every day by the three on-orbit WGS Block I satellites already fielded by the Air Force and Boeing team."
The three on-orbit satellites, which are operating over the Middle East, Pacific and Atlantic regions, are meeting or exceeding mission requirements.
Under the Block II contract, Boeing is building three more WGS satellites that are scheduled to launch in 2012 and 2013. This first award under the Block II follow-on contract covers non-recurring start-up activities and advance procurement of long-lead parts. The order for WGS-7 comes nearly three years after the Department of Defense’s December 2007 order for WGS-6.
"It is imperative that we address the warfighter’s continuing need for high-capacity communications in a timely, cost-effective manner," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. "WGS is a battle-tested solution that can evolve, using cost-effective methods, to meet emerging warfighter requirements such as communications-on-the-move for small mobile users, as well as airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance data-relay capabilities."
WGS satellites deliver fast, flexible broadband communications services to remote areas. They can deliver service to new users within hours and be repositioned on orbit if necessary to meet changing mission requirements. Built on the proven Boeing 702HP platform, WGS communications payloads provide reconfigurable coverage areas and the ability to connect X-band and Ka-band users anywhere within the satellite’s field of view through an onboard digital channelizer — features that enhance security and mission flexibility, and are not available on any other communications satellite.
The Wideband Global SATCOM system (previously called the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite system) is a satellite communications system planned for use in partnership by the United States Department of Defense (DoD) and the Australian Department of Defence. The system is composed of the Space Segment satellites, the Terminal Segment users and the Control Segment operators. DoD wideband satellite communication services are currently provided by a combination of the existing Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) and Global Broadcast Service (GBS) satellites.
-- Aug. 23, 2010
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