EL SEGUNDO, Calif., 31 July 2012. The U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing [NYSE: BA] a $338.7 million contract modification to produce and launch a tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite. This contract includes production, launch site activities, initial orbital operations and checkout.
The WGS system is planned for use by the DoD and the Australian Department of Defense. The constellation is meant to increase the communications capabilities of the U.S. and it's allies by providing additional communication and bandwidth capabilities.
Boeing is working with the Air Force on potential upgrades that could further increase the WGS satellites' capacity and operational flexibility. In June, Boeing was contracted to implement an enhanced wideband digital channelizer upgrade that provides a 90 percent improvement in satellite bandwidth. The new channelizer will be included on satellites WGS-8 and beyond.
The WGS payload architecture can accept the wideband digital channelizer upgrade with minimal impact. Boeing will continue to work with the Air Force to develop WGS enhancements that can unlock additional bandwidth and capacity.
The contract announcement comes six months after Congress provided funding for the Air Force in fiscal year 2012 to purchase WGS-10. This additional order is part of the WGS Block II follow-on contract, under which Boeing had previously been authorized for production and launch of WGS-7 through WGS-9.
The WGS satellites are built on the Boeing 702 platform. All three Block I satellites have been delivered and are in operation.