Air Force awards contract for additional wideband satellite

Boeing will build seventh satellite to support high-capacity communications

The Air Force has awarded a $182 million follow-on contract to Boeing as part of the continuing Wideband Global Satcom program.

Under the Block II follow-on contract, Boeing will build a seventh satellite to meet the broadband communications needs of tactical warfighters and unmanned aircraft systems, company officials said today. The contract covers start-up activities and the parts needed to begin production of the additional satellite.

Three WGS Block I satellites are already operating over the Middle East, Pacific and Atlantic regions. Three additional satellites commissioned under the Block II contract are scheduled to launch in 2012 and 2013, company officials said.

The Block II follow-on contract ultimately will include options for production of six more WGS satellites, the company said.

WGS satellites deliver high-speed communications services to remote areas. Specifically, they facilitate communications-on-the-move for small mobile users and relay airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data.

The WGS series consists of a Boeing-built 702HP satellite with a wideband communications payload that can connect X-band and Ka-band users anywhere within the satellite's field of view via an onboard digital channelizer.

About the Author

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

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