Warfighters get bandwidth boost from wideband satellites

Boeing transfers control of the second Wideband Global Satcom satellite to Air Force

Boeing has transferred control of the second Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellite to the Air Force, company officials said June 15.

The Air Force will operate the high-capacity military communications satellite, which gives warfighters substantially more bandwidth than existing satellites, from Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., the officials said. WGS-2 was launched April 3 and subjected to on-orbit testing before the company transferred control to the Air Force.

The Defense Department plans to use the WGS satellite system to augment and eventually replace the Defense Satellite Communications System, Air Force and Boeing officials said. When combined, WGS-1, which was delivered to the Air Force in January 2008, and WGS-2 can handle more than 25 times the capacity of the entire DSCS constellation, the officials said. DOD has ordered six WGS satellites from Boeing and plans to buy more to accommodate the growing demand for satcom bandwidth.

The WGS satellites provide digital communications to U.S. military forces and are interoperable with existing and programmed X-band and Ka-band terminals. The WGS series gives combatant commanders the ability to exercise command and control over tactical forces and enables those forces to connect to the terrestrial portion of the Defense Information Systems Network.

The Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing at the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles oversees the satellites.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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