Air Force asks Raytheon to build satellite communications (SATCOM) terminals to help control nuclear forces

July 5, 2023
FAB-T uses ground and airborne satellite terminals to provide voice communications, warning attack assessment, and emergency action messages.

BEDFORD, Mass. – U.S. Navy nuclear weapons experts needed communications terminals for the Air Force Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) program to command nuclear forces. They found their solution from Raytheon Technologies Corp.

Officials of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center in Bedford, Mass., announced an 11-year $625 million contract last week to the Raytheon Intelligence & Space segment in Marlborough, Mass., for Force Element Terminals for the Air Force FAB-T program.

The Air Force FAB-T program provides secure and survivable satellite communications (SATCOM) during all phases of nuclear conflict by linking with Milstar and Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite systems via AEHF waveforms.

This contract calls for Raytheon to buy equipment, as well as provide interim contractor support, depot activation, contractor logistics support, and studies for the FAB-T system.

Related: Collins Aerospace to build and maintain nuclear-hardened VLF military SATCOM radios for strategic bombers

FAB-T uses ground and airborne satellite terminals to provide presidential national voice conferencing, integrated tactical warning attack assessment, emergency action message dissemination, satellite telemetry, tracking, and control, and force reportback. The system must also operates through a nuclear event.

Raytheon was named the FAB-T production contractor in June 2014. The airborne terminals go aboard E-4B and E-6B aircraft, and the ground terminals offer a fixed and transportable variant for command posts.

FAB-T consists of ground and aircraft communication terminals with two terminal types: Command Post Terminals (CPTs) and Force Element Terminals (FETs). The FET is to be installed in the B-52 and RC-135 aircraft, while the CPT is for E-4B and E-6B aircraft.

The U.S. president, the secretary of defense, combatant commanders, and supporting Air Force units will use FAB-T to provide strategic nuclear and non-nuclear command and control with extremely high frequency wideband protected and survivable communications terminals for beyond line-of-sight communications.

Related: Raytheon to build command-and-control SATCOM system to link nuclear forces to national command authorities

Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) uses the FAB-T for satellite telemetry, tracking, and commanding for the AEHF satellite constellation, including management of the satellites, communication networks, and cryptologic keys.

U.S. Strategic Command and U.S Northern Command use the FAB-T for integrated tactical warning and attack assessment satellite communications of incoming missile threats to military forces from fixed and mobile sites.

On this contract Raytheon will do the work in Marlborough, Mass., and Largo, Fla., and should be finished by June 2034. For more information contact Raytheon Technologies Corp. online at, or the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at

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