The Air Force has awarded Boeing [BA] a not-to-exceed $605 million firm-fixed price contract modification to build one additional Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellite, according to an April 19 announcement.

The new system would be the 11th WGS satellite in the constellation. Congress appropriated $600 million in the fiscal year 2018 defense appropriations bill for two additional WGS satellites. The WGS program office released a sole-source request for proposal to Boeing in June 2018.

Space and Missile Systems Center’s WGS-10 (Wideband Global SATCOM) encapsulated satellite mated with a Delta IV launch vehicle was revealed completely as the tower rolled back in preparation for launch Mar. 15, 2019 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, along Florida’s Space Coast. (Photo: Air Force)

Instead of two new satellites, the Air Force has chosen for Boeing to build one additional system, dubbed WGS-11, that will have twice the operational capacity as WGS-10 at a firm fixed price. The effort is one of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s (AFSMC) “Pacesetter” programs, and will utilize commercial practices to provide multiple smaller, more agile beams, that could be more effective within a contested environment.

The effort includes options for on-orbit delivery and imparts a “sizeable non-performance penalty,” according to Air Force documents viewed by Defense Daily.

Work will be performed in El Segundo, Calif., and is expected to be complete by Nov. 20, 2023, per the April 19 contract award. The modification brings the total cumulative face value of the contract to $2.5 billion.  Fiscal 2018 procurement funds in the amount of $300,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award.

The Wideband Global Satcom constellation provides high-capacity satellite communications for the Defense Department. Nine WGS satellites are currently operational, and the initial system was launched in 2007. WGS-10 was launched March 15 aboard a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

ULA is a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin [LMT].