Air Force trims communications satellite system

The Air Force plans to significantly cut back a satellite system that would allow the military to transmit large amounts of surveillance and intelligence information to warfighters on the battlefield, NextGov reports.

The $16 billion Transformational Communication Satellite system is not being scrapped, Gary Payton, undersecretary of the Air Force for space programs told reporters in a conference call last week. Still, the service has delayed the launch date of the first satellite and has issued a new draft request for proposals at a bidders conference with Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp.

To make it more affordable, the Air Force dropped some capabilities, such as the requirement the system include Ka-band satellite transponders that can transmit high-speed data to terminals with an antenna about 1.5 feet in diameter.

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