The Air Force said July 2 it awarded Boeing [BA] a $111 million firm-fixed-price contract modification to the existing Wideband Global Satellite Communications (SATCOM) Block II follow-on contract for an enhanced Wideband Digital Channelizer.

Mark Spiwak, Boeing program director for Wideband Global SATCOM, said Thursday in an email the Wideband Digital Channelizer maximizes capacity by flexibly routing data between beams and frequency bands. Spiwak also said the channelizer provides the ability to switch communications between X- and Ka-band frequencies based on the ground terminals that are being used.

Spiwak said the channelizer will be installed on satellites WGS-8 “and beyond.” A Boeing spokeswoman said the channelizer will be installed during “normal spacecraft integration and test flow.”

The channelizer is also able to dynamically route communications traffic and capacity to meet changing user needs, providing more or less communications in a single beam based on what the users on the ground need at any given time, Spiwak added.

Spiwak said the new channelizer increases satellite capacity by greater than 30 percent and provides an increase in available bandwidth of more than 80 percent per satellite, all at a lower recurring unit price.

Spiwak said Boeing’s Block II follow-on negotiations resulted in significant savings for the Air Force.

“These savings created an opportunity to re-invest funds into the program, including this upgraded channelizer,” Spiwak said.

The Defense Department said work will be performed in El Segundo, Calif., and is to be completed by June 30, 2017.

WGS is to provide broadband communications connectivity for the United States and its allies, including tactical communications for ground forces and relaying data and imagery from airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms. WGS is DoD’s highest-capacity communications satellite system and can process more than 3.6 gigabits per second of data (Defense Daily, June 11).

Using reconfigurable antennas and a digital channelizer, WGS offers added flexibility to tailor coverage areas and connect X-band and Ka-band users anywhere within the satellite field of view.