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Boeing Updates Its TSAT Status

By | August 3, 2007

      Having earlier in the week submitted its proposal to the U.S. Air Force for the development and production phase of the Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) Military Operations System, Boeing updated the status of its program on Aug. 2.

      TSAT is designed to provide American warfighters secure, interoperable, high-capacity global communications. The contract for the space segment will include the design, development and launch of five satellites with a spare plus ground-based command and control and the high data-rate gateway. Due to be awarded in late November, the contract’s value through 2020 may reach $15 billion if all options are exercised. Boeing’s rival for the job is Lockheed Martin, which also submitted its bid on July 30 with partners including Northrop Grumman, ViaSat Inc. and Juniper Networks Inc.
      Boeing’s team consists of Cisco Systems, Hughes, IBM, Harris Corp., Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., LGS Innovations, Raytheon, General Dynamics C4S, L-3 Communications, BBN Technologies, EMS Technologies, Innovative Communications Engineering and SAIC.

      While calling the project “revolutionary instead of evolutionary” in terms of its research and design phase, Marc Johansen, Boeing’s director for space and intelligence programs, said the project has placed a premium on delivering the project on time and under budget.

      "This is a phased approach to make sure it fits in schedule, [at] lower risk with a significant amount of investment up front,” Johansen said, adding “we have to balance low risk with moving higher capabilities into the first phase, which is a very touchy balance.”

      Based on Boeing’s experience with MilStar, Johansen said that in developing the proposal for TSAT “the major difference was that both teams had to develop the technology and do a lot of [research and design] up front. The government, especially the Air Force, is going about proving a system up front,” having at a certain point decided that they would move a higher degree of the responsibility for delivery to the private companies ultimately responsible for the product.

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