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Raytheon has been awarded a contract to support the US Air Force’s (USAF) future protected military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) system development programme.

Under the terms of $8.7m contract, the company will design and demonstrate affordable terminal components in support of future MILSATCOM service demands abd support the waveform development for the air force.

Raytheon Network Centric Systems’ Business Strategic Communication Systems director Brian Gray said the cost represents the main driver in designing architecture of the future system.

"By getting in on the ground floor of development and working together with industry partners, we can use our 30 years of domain expertise and success from working on the Milstar EHF and AEHF systems to deliver a low-cost solution for the next generation of protected satellite communications," Gray added.

Raytheon’s AEHF terminals, including the US Navy multiband terminal, the Army’s secure mobile anti-jam reliable tactical terminal and the Air Force’s Minuteman minimum essential emergency communications network programme have passed production acquisition milestone decisions and also completed testing with the on-orbit AEHF satellite.

The MILSATCOM programme aims to develop practical new architectures and technologies to help increase protection of the US Department of Defense’s (DoD) high-security communications systems worldwide in future hostile environments.

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Other contract awardees include L-3 Communications, Space Systems/Loral, Hughes Network Systems Northrop Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics, Space Micro, Hughes Design Group, Lockheed Martin, Harris, ViaSat, Orbital Sciences and Arkham Technology.