Boeing Gains $299.8 Million For Satellite; Launch Set For Early 2011
The Air Force gave The Boeing Co. [BA] a $299.8 million contract for production of the fourth Wideband Gapfiller Satellite (WGS).
This is the first option to be exercised on the WGS Block II contract, which was finalized last month.
The Block II contract is valued at $1.067 billion, if all options are exercised.
WGS-4 will be similar to the three Block I satellites Boeing already is building, but will include a radio frequency (RF) bypass capability designed to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms requiring additional bandwidth.
The RF bypass will support data rates up to 311 megabits per second. The 13-kilowatt WGS satellites are based on Boeing’s 702 models and are designed to provide improved communications support for warfighters.
WGS-4 is expected to launch in early 2011.
“The procurement of this fourth WGS satellite places us on a solid path to increase the capabilities of the [Department of Defense] communications constellation,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Adam Mortensen, WGS Block II program manager.
“The additional satellite substantially increases the tactical communications capacity in key geographic areas, and will provide a critical capability to support data relay from new unmanned aerial vehicles that are coming on line.”
WGS will augment and eventually replace the Defense Satellite Communication System (DSCS) currently in orbit.
One WGS satellite will provide more throughput than the entire DSCS constellation, which translates to improved effectiveness of worldwide forces and ultimately saves lives, according to Boeing.
The first WGS Block I satellite is scheduled for launch in mid-2007.
“We are very pleased that the government has exercised this contract option, which will substantially enhance the capability of the WGS constellation,” said Charles Toups, vice president of Boeing Navigation and Communication Systems.
He added, “Boeing has leveraged a wealth of experience and capability for WGS, including extensive investments in the 702 satellite bus, digital signal processors and phased array antennas. These capabilities enable the tremendous capacity and operational flexibility our nation requires.”