Air Force taps Boeing for third Gapfiller satellite

Boeing Integrated Defense Systems has won a contract from the Air Force to build a third satellite in the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite program, the company announced Dec. 20.

The current option for the third satellite raises the total value of the contract to $660 million, the company said.

The satellites provide the nation and its allies with increased space-based communications capability that augments the current Defense Satellite Communications System and Global Broadcast Service operations.

The WGS is a military satellite communications program being woven into an integrated battle space where real-time information is quickly and simultaneously made accessible to platforms, forces and commanders on the ground, at sea or in the air, according to the company.

Boeing received funding to build the first two satellites in January 2002 for launches scheduled for 2004. The third satellite is scheduled to launch in 2005. The WGS contract includes options for as many as six Boeing 702 satellites and associated spacecraft and payload ground control equipment that is funded by the Army.

More than 1,000 people at Boeing's integrated satellite factory in El Segundo, Calif., anchor the Boeing team building the WGS. Other companies on the team include Spectrolab Inc., ITT Corp., Raytheon Co., Northrop Grumman Corp., and Harris Corp.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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