Boeing pilots data-rich path

Aerospace giant sees growth in satellites and cyber security

Pushing the envelope on information technology solutions for government customers has helped Boeing Co. and its Defense, Space and Security business unit continue its dominance as a top prime IT contractor in the past year.

"More and more of our business opportunities are very information-centric," said Roger Krone, president of network and space systems at Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

Boeing posted prime contract IT revenues of $10.5 billion, for the No. 3 ranking on the 2010 Top 100.

For example, Boeing conducted a demonstration of the scalability of the Wideband Networking Waveform in an urban field environment. This software waveform will provide Internet-like capability on Joint Tactical Radio System Ground Mobile Radios. The demonstration was designed to prove that WNW will seamlessly connect warfighters and commanders so that they can share real-time information and have better situational awareness.

In partnership with the Air Force, Boeing conducted the first in a yearlong series of flight tests of the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T), which will provide protected, beyond line-of-sight communications for the B-2, B-52 and RC-135 aircraft. The flight test demonstrated FAB-T's network-centric ability to connect satellite, airborne and ground assets in a realistic flight environment.

Boeing also delivered the 500th Combat Track II kit, an airborne intelligence system for Air Force cargo and bomber aircraft that enhances situational awareness, increases aircrew survivability and improves airframe effectiveness.

The Brigade Combat Team Modernization program for the Army received Defense Department approval to enter into low-rate initial production and awarded Boeing a contract valued at $138 million.

Satellite innovations included Boeing's launch of the third Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) high-capacity communications satellite for the Air Force and on-orbit handover of the second satellite in the series.

Also, NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration accepted into service a new weather imaging satellite, the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite.

An Air Force/Boeing team won the National Space Club's 2010 Nelson P. Jackson Award for fielding the first three WGS spacecraft, which are the highest-capacity military communications satellites in DOD’s arsenal. Each WGS satellite has more than 10 times the capacity of a Defense Satellite Communications System III satellite, the system WGS eventually will replace.

"Some people forget that communications satellites, such as WGS, are really critical IT systems," Krone said. "It's just that they operate in space."

Moving forward, Boeing is focusing increased expertise and resources on government cybersecurity activities. The company formed a new dedicated business division called Intelligence and Security Systems and acquired three companies to support that effort: Digital Receiver Technology Inc., Kestrel Enterprises Inc. and eXMeritus Inc. Boeing also is cultivating the next generation of cybersecurity experts by supporting collegiate regional cyber defense competitions.

"One of the things that helps us drive growth is our proven track record protecting one of the world's largest networks and supply chains," Krone said. "Boeing has long developed and deployed capabilities in the land, air, sea and space domains, so cyber capabilities such as defense-in-depth, information assurance and secure networking are inherent to how we do business."

Other areas of focus include homeland security, logistical support services and new technologies, such as autonomous unmanned aircraft.

About the Author

Lisa Terry is a contributing writer to Washington Technology.

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