EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Modification of commercial satellite capabilities for U.S. military use is being investigated by Boeing under a $900,000 study contract from the U.S. Air Force.
Under the award from the Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Boeing will focus on communications-on-the-move missions as well as connectivity for low-altitude airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms operating on Ka-band frequencies.
Boeing also will make recommendations about innovative and feasible acquisition alternatives, which will include ways to apply commercial satellite procurement practices to the military acquisition process.
The study recommendations are to be delivered to the Air Force in July.
"Boeing's vision for the future MILSATCOM architecture is one that includes core owned assets such as Wideband Global SATCOM, plus complementary hosted or free-flier payloads," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems. "We expect to play a large role in increasing the United States' MILSATCOM assets."
Hosted payloads are one of Boeing's key recommendations for MILSATCOM augmentation. They are additional payloads added to a commercial satellite for the purpose of being leased to a government user. One of the primary benefits of a hosted payload is the speed of delivery -- a commercial satellite carrying a hosted payload can generally be delivered in less than three years.
"Boeing received orders for five hosted payloads in the past 18 months," Cooning said. "These are a win-win for the military, which needs the bandwidth, and the commercial SATCOM service providers, which benefit from a secondary revenue stream. Our partnership with commercial satellite industry and our legacy of government support will result in many creative approaches to assisting this country's men and women in uniform."