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Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman to Build Protected Satcom Payload Prototypes

By | March 13, 2020
The Pentagon, headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defense. Photo: DOD.

The Pentagon, headquarters for the U.S. Department of Defense. Photo: DOD.

The Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) has announced three companies will build prototypes for the U.S. Space Force’s Protected Tactical Satellite (PTS) Communication program as Lockheed Martin and Boeing join Northrop Grumman as the prime contractors.

SMC announced on March 3 that Lockheed Martin and Boeing were awarded $240 million and $191 million, respectively, for PTS payload development. Northrop Grumman won a $253.6 million contract in February.

The program involves the space component of the Space Force’s Protected Anti-jam Tactical Satcom family-of-systems architecture to provide resilient, worldwide, beyond line-of-sight, anti-jam communications to the warfighter, per SMC.

The PTS “rapid-prototyping spiral will focus on demonstrating the modularity, scalability, hostability, and operational utility of the payload,” and is one of SMC’s pacesetter programs intended to quickly demonstrate new capabilities and reduce the wait for the operator. Each contractor will use non-traditional subcontractors, as designated under the other transaction authority Space Enterprise Consortium (SpEC), through which the awards were given.

“We are thrilled to add Boeing and Lockheed Martin to the PTS effort,” said Col. Dennis Bythewood, Space Force program executive officer for space development. “The technology maturation and prototyping effort conducted under SpEC will allow SMC to harness the innovation of partnerships between traditional defense and non-traditional/small business contractors with a projected on-orbit capability three years earlier than a traditional acquisition.”