Boeing has been awarded a contract modification for the production and launch of the US Air Force's (USAF) tenth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite.
The $338.7m extension forms part of the WGS Block II follow-on contract, which includes the manufacture and launch of WGS-7 through WGS-9, and covers satellite production, launch site activities, initial orbital operations and checkout operations.
As part of a contract received in June 2012, Boeing is currently implementing an enhanced Wideband Digital Channelizer upgrade on the WGS-8 to help the USAF achieve a 90% improvement in satellite bandwidth, with no additional cost to the government.
Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems vice president and general manager Craig Cooning said that the USAF's purchase of WGS-8, 9 and 10 satellites in a six-month span enabled the company to combine materials purchase and maintain an active production line across the vehicles, thus generating significant savings.
"We are continuously looking for ways to realise cost savings on the WGS programme, whether through product upgrades or improvements in the acquisition process," Cooning added.
The company said that it will continue to work with the air force to develop WGS enhancements that are capable of unlocking additional bandwidth and capacity.
Developed from the Boeing 702HP platform, the WGS satellites are designed to provide fast, flexible broadband communications for US warfighters and their allies worldwide.
The first three Block I WGS satellites and WGS-4, the first in the Block II series, were launched in 2007, 2009 and April 2012 receptively, while the WGS-5 and WGS-6 are scheduled to be launched in 2013.
Cooning said: "The Block I satellites, which are meeting or exceeding all mission requirements, provide unique capabilities, such as on-station reconfigurable X-band coverage and X/Ka cross-banding, which enable communication in contested theatres around the globe."
Image: The first WGS satellites in the Block II series include WGS-4, WGS-5 and WGS-6. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.