EL SEGUNDO, Calif., 17 Jan. 2012. The Boeing Co. Space and Intelligence Systems (S&IS) segment in El Segundo, Calif., will build the ninth U.S. Air Force Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite under terms of a $376.5 million contract modification announced Friday from the Air Force Space and Missile Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. WGS satellites are the key elements of a high-capacity military satellite communications system to provide advanced communications capabilities for deployed U.S. military forces.
The contract modification exercises the option for Boeing to produce, process, launch, and activate on-orbit WGS satellite number nine. The WGS constellation is the highest-capacity satellite communications system for the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD). Each WGS satellite can route data at 2.1 to 3.6 gigabits per second to provide more than 10 times the communications capacity of the WGS predecessor DSCS III satellite, Boeing officials say.
WGS also can tailor coverage areas using reconfigurable antennas and a digital channelizer, and can connect X-band and Ka-band military satellite communications users anywhere within the satellite field of view. WGS helps U.S. military forces carry out tactical command and control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR); battle management; and combat support information. WGS also works with Ka-band Global Broadcast Service satellites by providing additional information broadcast capabilities.
The first three WGS Block I satellites are all on-orbit, one over the Pacific Ocean, another over the Middle East, and the third over Europe and Africa. The fourth, fifth, and sixth WGS satellites, where are the Block II configuration, will launch this year and in 2013. The Air Force ordered the seventh WGS Block II satellite in September 2011, and ordered the eighth satellite last month.
The Block II satellites add radio frequency bypass capability designed to support airborne intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance aircraft that require ultra-high bandwidth and data rates, such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), Boeing officials say. Boeing will build the ninth WGS Block II satellite in Forth Worth, Texas, and should be finished by May 2013.