April 22 (UPI) — Boeing has been awarded a $605 million contract for the production of the Air Force’s 11th Wideband Global Satellite Communication Space Vehicle.
The Department of Defense, which announced the contract on Friday, depends on the WGS system to communicate with warfighters across the globe. Ten Ka-band and 8 X-band beam can be positioned anywhere in the field of view of each satellite, according to Boeing.
The total value of the modified WGS Block II contract is $2.5 billion. Fiscal 2018 procurement funds in the amount of $300 million are being obligated at the time of award.
Work will be performed at Boeing’s plant in El Segundo, Calif.
United Launch Alliance ULA is scheduled to launch the 11th satellite aboard a Delta IV rocket in November 2023.
Since 2001, Boeing has been the prime contractor of the WGS, which was first launched in 2008.
GS 4, which was launched off in 2012, was the first Block II series.
WGS-10, which was launched March 15, was meant to be the last of the constellation. But in March 2018, Congress added $600 million for the procurement of WGS-11 and WGS-12, though no funds were allocated for launches.
Each launch costs between $200 million to $300 million, Space News reported.
“We have been working very, very closely with Boeing and our other industry partners and our warfighters to make sure that we adhere to the intent of Congress, but don’t do things the same old way we’ve always done with respect to procuring WGS satellites,” Air Force Lt. Gen. John Thompson, the commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, told reporters April 11 at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.
The cost of WGS-6 and WGS-9 was partially funded by project partners Australia, Canada, Denmark, New Zealand, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway and the Czech Republic.