Boeing Gains $1.067 Billion Request For Wideband Gapfiller Satellites
The Air Force gave The Boeing Co. [BA] a $1.067 billion contract for up to three more Wideband Gapfiller Satellites (WGS), if all options are exercised, Boeing announced.
Signing the contract were the Air Force MILSATCOM Systems Wing and Boeing.
The Block II satellites will be similar to the three Block I satellites already in production.
Under Block II, Boeing will add a radio frequency bypass capability designed to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms requiring ultra-high bandwidth and data rates demanded by unmanned aerial vehicles.
“This new Block II contract gives the Air Force the flexibility to independently exercise options for long-lead material, production and launch services for WGS F4 through F6,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Adam Mortenson, WGS Block II program manager.
“One WGS satellite will provide more throughput than the entire Defense Service Communications Satellite (DSCS) constellation currently on station, which translates into improved effectiveness of our worldwide forces, and ultimately, into lives saved.”
In February, the Air Force authorized Boeing to begin non-recurring engineering and advanced procurement of parts for the fourth WGS satellite.
Boeing anticipates Air Force authorization to proceed with full production of WGS F4 and to begin long-lead work for F5 by the end of this calendar year. These 13-kilowatt WGS satellites are based on the Boeing 702 models and are designed to provide improved communications support for warfighters.
Boeing is preparing the first WGS satellite for launch next year.
The Block II contract calls for the launch of F4 by the first quarter of 2011 and subsequent launches every year thereafter.
WGS will augment and eventually replace the DSCS currently on station.