Press Release

U.S. Air Force Awards $336 Million Contract to Boeing to Begin Satellite Production

By SpaceRef Editor
March 6, 2002
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Boeing Space
and Communications (S&C), a unit of The Boeing Co., has
received $336.4 million in funding from the U.S. Air Force to build
the first two satellites in the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite (WGS)

The contract also includes long-lead material for a third
satellite. With all options exercised, the contract for up to six
satellites has a total potential value of $1.3 billion. WGS is a
multi-spacecraft constellation designed to provide improved
communications support to America’s warfighters.

Boeing Satellite Systems, the satellite-manufacturing arm of
Boeing S&C, will build the Boeing 702 model satellites in El Segundo,
Calif. The first satellite is scheduled to launch in early 2004, with
the second one to follow in 2005.

The January 2001 contract for $160.3 million covered design and
advance parts procurement for WGS, a high-capacity satellite
communications system that will support the warfighter with newer and
far greater capabilities than those provided by current systems.

“I’m pleased that we are now beginning production of WGS. Boeing,
its industry partners, and the government have worked at a rapid pace
in a cooperative, commercial-like acquisition environment to move
through many significant milestones leading up to WGS spacecraft
production,” said Lt. Col. Brian Magazu, the WGÉBogram manager at
U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in Los Angeles.

“The WGS satellites will provide more than 10 times the capability
of the current generation of communications satellites,” said Randy
Brinkley, president of Boeing Satellite Systems. “As importantly, the
WGS program is successfully fulfilling the DoD’s efforts to procure
systems more quickly and efficiently. The timeliness of this latest
success is an endorsement of our team’s commercial acquisition
approach, and of the advanced commercial technology we will leverage
into this program.”

The WGS System Program Office at SMC last year received the Air
Force’s John J. Welch Award for Excellence in Acquisition Management
based on the program office’s aggressive pursuit of acquisition-reform
strategies including commercial item acquisition methods. The WGS
program also successfully passed the preliminary design review
milestone last August.

Design will continue through this summer while the team begins
producing payload units for integration into the satellite early next
year. The ground control equipment is being developed in parallel. The
first launch of a WGS satellite will take place aboard a Boeing Delta
IV rocket provided by the Air Force through the Evolved Expendable
Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

As WGS prime contractor and overall systems integrator, Boeing
leads a team of satellite communications industry leaders. Harris
Corp. supplies expertise in terminal and payload interfaces as well as
the satellite Ka-band antenna subsystem. ITT Industries is integrating
the payload control segment.

Northrop Grumman Information Technology is leading the effort in
system security engineering. Science Applications International Corp.
(SAIC) supports the overall WGS systems engineering effort.

Boeing Space and Communications (S&C), with headquarters in Seal
Beach, Calif., is the world’s largest space and communications
company. A unit of The Boeing Co., S&C provides integrated solutions
in launch services, human space flight and exploration, missile
defense, and information and communications.

It is NASA’s largest contractor; a leading provider of space-based
communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile
defense; and a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance. The global enterprise has customers worldwide and
manufacturing operations throughout the United States and Australia.

Note to Editors: Photos available at

SpaceRef staff editor.