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Air Force taps Engility with $655M contract for satellite-tracking systems

By Allen Cone
Air Force taps Engility with $655M contract for satellite-tracking systems
Satellite ground terminals are based at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. The U.S. Air Force awarded Engility Corp. a $655 million contract for satellite-tracking systems' engineering, development, integration and sustainment at Kirtland, replacing Lockheed Martin. Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force/Share Earth Observation Resources

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force awarded Engility Corp., which was acquired two weeks ago by SAIC, a $655 million contract for satellite-tracking services, replacing Lockheed Martin.

The contract, which covers ground systems' engineering, development, integration and sustainment, involves the current Ground System Enterprise and the transition and buildout to Enterprise Ground Services at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., the Air Force announced Thursday.

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It includes the Space and Missile Systems Center Advanced Systems and Development Directorate, Ground Systems and Space Operations Division.

Work is expected to be complete Jan. 31, 2026 at Kirtland as well as Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado. Fiscal 2019 operations and maintenance funds in the amount of $1.5 million have been obligated at the time of award.

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Five offers were received in competitive bidding.

SAIC, which based in Reston, Va., submitted a bid before announcing the merger with Engility for $2.5 billion in September to expand the company's space services portfolio.

Lockheed Martin, the prime contractor for EDIS until spring 2019, also bid for the contract.

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Space News reported the Air Force wants to transform the ground-based system into "enterprise architectures" with multiple satellites without designing a new ground segment. This includes the ability to operate any vendor or government-developed satellite.

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An enterprise ground system would make it faster and less expensive to test experimental satellites, the Air Force has said, as the military faces new threats in space.

On Wednesday, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc. announced it has commanded an on-orbit spacecraft using the U.S. Air Force's Enterprise Ground Services framework.

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Kratos earlier announced three successful pathfinder studies for migrating the Command and Control System -- Consolidated ground system to the EGS architecture.

This provides consolidated Military SATCOM tracking, telemetry and command capability for 14th Air Force and 50th Space Wing.

"These capabilities are critical to achieving a resilient EGS and the agility needed to survive the new realities of space," said Larry Lind, vice president of Kratos Federal Program.

"In the past, the demonstration of a new satellite ground command and control station has taken months and in many cases years to execute. The test and demonstration of this first live contact run out of the Space Mission Battle Lab was made possible in less than three weeks and its success validated TRL 8 readiness of Kratos EGS technology."

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