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Lockheed Martin Wins $258M US Space Force Contract for ESS Program Prototype

By | November 11, 2020

The Evolved Strategic Satcom (ESS) program will eventually replace the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system built by Lockheed Martin. Photo: Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $258 million contract to develop a prototype payload for the U.S. Space Force’s Evolved Strategic Satcom (ESS) program, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday. ESS will be a military satellite communications system that will interoperate with, and eventually replace, the existing Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system. According to the award, Lockheed Martin will develop a prototype payload and conclude in a hardware and software in-the-loop, end-to-end demonstration.

Lockheed Martin will compete with Boeing and Northrop Grumman for the full contract. Boeing and Northrop Grumman received their contract awards in October and September, respectively. Lockheed Martin has been known to be the third competitor on this contract. According to a 2018 document about the awards, the government determined that only these three companies are capable of delivering XDR waveform processor within the payload that is required. 

Contracts for the full ESS system are expected to be awarded in 2025.

“We understand the mission and the threat, and we’re committed to providing the Space Force and our warfighters with the best protected communications solutions for the Evolved Strategic SATCOM program that will help us stay ahead of the growing threat,” a Lockheed Martin spokesperson said in a statement to Via Satellite

The firm-fixed-price contract is worth $258,311,000. Fiscal 2020 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $29,447,172 are being obligated at the time of award. Work is expected to be completed by June 2025.