A secured tactical satellite terminal is deployed by the U.S. Army. Photo by Sgt. Chris Florence/5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division/U.S. Army
Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Boeing has been awarded $383.4 million from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center for the Protected Tactical Enterprise Service tactical satellite communications system.
The contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, will provide ground satellite communications designed to be highly resistant to jamming and signals interception by enemy forces.
Air Force fiscal 2018 and 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funding of $17.2 million has been obligated at the time of award.
The Protected Tactical Enterprise Service is the follow-on phase to the Protected Anti-Jam Tactical Satcom system currently under development. The system is meant to extend anti-jamming capabilities and additional security to existing networks of satellites, including commercial ones, used by the Department of Defense.
The only satellite network that is completely jam-proof deployed by the U.S. military is the Air Force's Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites that started introduction in 2010, and current limited capacity means that it is reserved for only the most sensitive communications such as nuclear command and control and air strike planning.
Due to demand for more secure communications, the Pentagon is seeking less expensive alternatives that can use the jam-resistant Protected Tactical Waveform. The PTES will provide ground stations that can integrate with existing satellites that the DOD either operates or contracts from civilian providers.
GPS jamming is a serious concern to the U.S. military, which is highly dependent on GPS for navigation and weapons guidance. Russia has fielded several types of mobile jammers, some of which have been exported. Extending protection to existing satellite systems would buy time for more AEHF satellites to be deployed.