U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles AFB, Calif., has completed its preliminary design review of the Boeing [BA] Wideband Global Satcom-11 (WGS-11) satellite, as the company prepares to start production next year for satellite delivery and launch in 2024.
WGS-11 is to have twice the communications capacity of each of the current 10 WGS satellites, as well as narrower, agile beams to provide increased anti-jamming in electronically contested environments.
SMC said on Oct. 6 that it concluded the review “on July 1 after an eight-month long campaign.” SMC gave no reason why the completion of the three-day, all virtual PDR was not disclosed in July.
“Leveraging the Space and Missile Systems Center’s cross-corps enterprise structure, the three-day event was co-chaired by SMC’s production corps and portfolio architect’s Mission System Integration leadership,” per SMC. “Stakeholders across the Wideband community including system engineers from the Army, Navy and U.S. Space Force participated in the PDR.”
The WGS-11 design “was evaluated by all stakeholders against specific technical criteria to ensure the optimal capability is delivered to the warfighter,” SMC said.
“Zero liens were recorded,” SMC said, and the program “was declared ready to proceed to detailed design.”
“This engineering design review is a key milestone because it means we are one step closer to delivering this groundbreaking satellite to the warfighter in record timing, significantly improving capacity and coverage to soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.” Air Force Col. John Dukes, SMC production corps’ geosynchronous/polar Division chief, said in a statement.
While WGS-11 will feature agile beams to avoid jamming, a possible Mitigation and Anti-Jam Enhancement (MAJE) upgrade for WGS-11 ground stations would have to go through the requirements process (Defense Daily, Sept. 21).
WGS satellites provide high data rate communications for the U.S. military services and others, including the White House Communications Agency, the U.S. State Department, and international partners, including Australia, Canada, Luxembourg, Denmark, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Norway.
Boeing is building WGS-11 under a $605 million firm-fixed price contract awarded last year (Defense Daily, Apr. 19, 2019). While Congress appropriated $600 million in the fiscal year 2018 defense appropriations bill for two additional WGS satellites, the Air Force decided to go with just one more, WGS-11, and double its communications capacity. The WGS program office released a sole-source request for proposal to Boeing for WGS-11 in June 2018.