Northrop Grumman has secured a contract from the US Air Force to develop software for the Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) programme.

The $82m contract will facilitate protected extremely high-frequency (EHF) military satellite communications in the North Pole region.

EPS is a next-generation SATCOM system that seeks to provide continuous coverage in the polar region for secure, jam-resistant, strategic and tactical communications to support defence and humanitarian assistance operations.

Northrop Grumman is the primary contractor for the EPS and provider for all three major components of the EPS-R CAPS programme.

The USAF’s authority to proceed means the company can work on the development of software for the EPS-R CAPS. The approval transitions the EPS-R CAPS programme from requirements analysis to test and delivery.

The software will address international host accommodations provided by Space Norway for new out of band link functions, cyber architecture, and orbit planning.

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The contract will also provide the service with the capability for controlling four EPS-R payloads simultaneously on a single software baseline.

Northrop Grumman strategic force programmes vice-president Rob Fleming said: “Northrop Grumman is committed to delivering the critical ground segment technologies that support the important mission of US Air Force Space and Missile Command.

“Northrop Grumman is the primary contractor for the EPS and provider for all three major components of the EPS-R CAPS programme.”

“We demonstrate through this contract and in close collaboration with Space and Missile Command that existing ground design and software can be successfully modified to support new and advancing mission requirements, an important strategic priority for our customer.”

CAPS next-generation ground system serves as the primary means for commanding and receiving telemetry for the EPS payload.

The system also handles mission planning and cryptographic planning for the EPS and EPS-R polar-orbiting payloads, allowing EPS to provide connectivity to Combatant Commander Command and Control centres operating in non-polar regions.

Work under the latest contract is anticipated to be completed by 30 September 2023.

The US Air Force Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM) accepted the delivery of the EPS CAPS last year from Northrop Grumman under a five-year project.