EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Production, launch and on-orbit activation of Boeing's seventh Wideband Global Satcom satellite has been authorized by the U.S. Air Force.
The authorization came through a $1.09 billion contract modification that adds funding to the existing Block II follow-on contract for full production, launch and on-orbit activation and procurement of long-lead materials for an eighth satellite.
Boeing said the authorization includes options for the full production, launch and on-orbit activation of satellites eight and nine.
The additional orders are part of the WGS Block II follow-on contract awarded in August 2010.
"With three satellites in operation today, WGS is already making a huge difference for the warfighter," said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. "Satellites seven and eight will address the growing demand for high-data-rate services worldwide."
The contract includes production, launch site activities and initial orbital operations and checkout for each satellite. Boeing is working with the Air Force on potential upgrades that would increase the satellites' capacity and operational flexibility.
WGS is the U.S. Department of Defense's highest-capacity communications satellite system. The three satellites in orbit provide more than 30 times the communications capacity of the previous Defense Satellite Communications System constellation.