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Boeing Contracts for Up To 2 More WGS Communications Satellites

by: Matthew Potter
September 6, 2011

Category: Boeing, Business Line, Companies, Contract Additions, Contract Awards, Department of Defense, EADS, EADS Astrium, Events, IT, logistics, Satellites, Services, space, U.S. Air Force | RSS 2.0

The U.S. Air Force and Boeing (BA) signed a contract for the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite last week. The contract has a value of over $1 billion and includes the advanced procurement materials for the eighth satellite as well.

The WGS, also called the “Wideband Gapfiller Satellite”, is a new communication system used by the U.S. military as well as the Australian Ministry of Defence. The first of the systems was launched in 2007 and so far two others have been launched. With this contract Boeing will have up to five in production of the new communication system.

The U.S. military is increasingly dependent on satellite communications for its war fighting needs. Not only has it been investing in its own systems to support this need but has also been buying large amounts of commercial capability. The fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan has required large amounts of this support.

Recently the U.S. government began issuing omnibus contracts for commercial time for communications. This is a joint contract between the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration (GSA). It will allow any agency or part of the government to buy commercial satellite time from a variety of providers and the contract could have a value of over $5 billion.

This type of support is considered a growth area for defense contractors and is part of the reason that EADS (EADS:P) acquired the second largest commercial satellite provider recently.

At the same time the U.S. military will continue its investment in internal capability with systems such as WGS.

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