The US Air Force (USAF) has formally accepted Northrop Grumman’s Enhanced Polar System (EPS) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) programme.

EPS offers secure, jam-resistant satellite communications coverage to forces in the northern polar region.

CAPS is a next-generation ground system that receives telemetry and delivers configuration commands, mission planning and cryptographic planning for the two EPS polar-orbiting payloads.

With the acceptance, Northrop concludes a five-year project to design, develop, test and supply the EPS CAPS for the Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM).

“EPS and EPS CAPS are being acquired by the MILSATCOM directorate at the USAF’s Space and Missile System Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base in California.”

This also marks the start of a new $23m project designed to extend Northrop’s support role until December.

Northrop Grumman Strategic Force Programmes vice-president Kenny Robinson said: “Our commitment to quality and performance underpinned our ability to deliver on a ground system of this complexity and strategic importance.

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“We worked closely with our customer to meet all acceptance criteria, leading to a high-quality product that meets, and in many cases, exceeds functional, performance and security requirements.

“We are proud to serve as a mission partner on EPS CAPS and committed to supporting the airforce as we prepare for initial operating capacity.”

In November 2012, Northrop was awarded the original contract to develop and deliver EPS CAPS to the airforce.

EPS and EPS CAPS are being acquired by the MILSATCOM directorate at the USAF’s Space and Missile System Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base in California.

Primary design, development and testing on the project was carried out in Redondo Beach, California, with additional CAPS work conducted in Orlando, Florida, as well as Needham and Marlborough, Massachusetts, US.