Lockheed Gets Another $41.7M for TSAT
Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA has received a $41.7 million cost-plus fixed-fee contract modification to replan around some funding and technology issues for the Transformation Communications Satellite (TSAT) system, and incorporate the development of information assurance products for transmission security, telemetry tracking and command crypto. FY 2005 funding had been reduced by $90 million from $202 million to $112 million (-45%), while FY 2006 funding was increased by $50 million (+25%) from $200 million to $250 million.
TSAT will be one of the key enablers for the American vision and doctrine of Network Centric Warfare.
The system is intended to provide internet-like capability that extends high-bandwidth satellite capabilities to deployed troops worldwide, and delivers an order of magnitude increase in available military bandwidth. Using laser communications intersatellite links will create a high data-rate backbone in space, radically improving the system’s bandwidth transmission capacity.
A visual image from a UAV that would take 2 minutes to process with the Milstar II satellite system would take less than a second with TSAT. A radar image from a Global Hawk UAV (12 minutes), or a multi-gigabyte radar image from space-based radar (88 minutes), would also take less than a second with the TSAT network.
Solicitation for this contract began September 2004, negotiations were completed in March 2005, and work will be complete by December 2006. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., issued the contract (FA8808-04-C-0023, P00009).
The final price tag on the entire TSAT program is expected to reach $14-18 billion through 2016, which includes the satellite, the ground operations system, the satellite operations center and the cost of operations and maintenance.
Note that the TSAT Program is actually just one node in a broad spectrum of programs known as the Transformational Communications Architecture (TCA), version 1.0 of which was approved by a Joint Requirements Oversight Council Memorandum (JROCM) on October 23, 2003.
The TCA envisions a Global Information Grid (GIG) that would offer tremendous advances over the current Milstar II systems. They include the Wideband Gapfiller System (WGS or next generation wideband), Mobile User Objective System (MUOS or next generation narrowband) scheduled for launch in 2009, Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF next generation protected) to be launched between 2008-2010, the Transformational Communications Satellite (TSAT) system that could be launched from 2012 as a major improvement over deploying AEHF #4 & 5, and an Advanced Polar System for various strategic missions. These programs are all organized around the lifespan of the current Milstar II constellation, which is estimated to remain capable through 2014.
- EETimes, April 6/05: Raytheon demonstrates software for T-SAT Ground Stations
- C4ISR Journal, January 4/05: First Launch of Advanced Communications Satellites Slips
- National Defense Magazine, June/04: Expanding Communications
- SIGNAL Magazine, February/03: Synchronicity Drives Transformational Communications
- TelecomWeb ViaSatellite.com. See: “The Military Sector: Doing Business With The Decisionmaker” and “U.S. Air Force Satellite Programs On Track”
- USAF News Release, September 3/02: Transformational Communications Office Formed
- Learning from Corporate Mistakes: The Rise and Fall of Iridium (see also PDF version)
- Clay Shirky’s “Permanet, Nearlynet, and Wireless Data” offers some useful insights as well, though it is important to remember that unlike corporate executives, militaries really do need connectivity anywhere as a life-and-death matter and this changes some of the dynamics involved.