Airbus Defense and Space Aug. 11said it has been awarded an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract valued up to $500 million to provide services related to hosting United States Air Force communications systems onboard commercially operated satellites.

This contract pre-qualifies Airbus Defense and Space to bid on opportunities for hosted payloads –a business model that allows government customers more rapid access to space for their programs and missions without the costs associated with buying or leasing an entire spacecraft.

“As a major satellite manufacturer and commercial operator, Airbus Defense and Space is well-positioned to offer the Air Force and other U.S. government customers affordable and dependable access to space for both geostationary and low earth orbit hosted payloads,” said Michael Cosentino, president of Airbus Defense and Space Inc.

The contract, managed by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Developmental Planning Directorate, will cover multiple deliveries, fully functioning on-orbit hosted payload systems, along with integrated ground system equipment and interfaces.

SMC is responsible for research, development, acquisition, on-orbit testing and the sustainment of U.S. military space and missile systems. The firm fixed price IDIQ contract features a five-year ordering period from the date of award and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2029.

“Over the past two decades, Airbus Defense and Space has facilitated more than 30 hosted payloads programs worldwide and for U.S. government organizations, including the Federal Aviation Authority, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, National Research Laboratories and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” said Ed Spitler, president of Airbus Defense and Space’s government satellite communications unit in the United States. “This is a great opportunity for Airbus Defense and Space to leverage its expertise in support of critical U.S. space missions.”

Airbus Defense and Space already holds multiple Future Commercial Satellite Communications contract awards managed jointly by the Defense Information Systems Agency and the General Services Administration, allowing it to provide U.S. government and military customers with access to its entire portfolio of transponded capacity and fixed and mobile subscription services.

Airbus Defense and Space, a trusted provider of commercial and military satellite communications solutions to the U.S. government, is the world’s first and largest commercial operator of military hardened and protected Skynet X-Band and UHF satellites. For U.S. government customers, Airbus Defense and Space provides communications services through a one-stop-shop provisioning arrangement. The company said its solutions are cost-effective, secure and scalable with Quality of Service (QoS) that is guaranteed to support the most critical missions including communications on the Move (COTM), asset tracking, troop welfare, infrastructure design and operation, and civil security.