June 16, 2020

The U.S. Army awarded Atlanta-based Envistacom, LLC a task order to deliver very-small-aperture terminal (VSAT) satellite communications (SATCOM) On The Quick Halt (SOTQH) communication systems to specialized U.S. Army units, the company reported. The systems, to be used on using Polaris Defense all-terrain MRZR vehicles as well as CV-22 Osprey aircraft, will combine terminal technology from Rochester, New York-based Lite Coms; Envisticom will integrate the hardware at ts Innovation Center based on the compnay's prototype. Under the contract, Envistacom will integrate, test and deliver operational systems for deployment with active units. 

June 2, 2020

Viasat Inc., Carlsbad, California, is awarded $75,373,500 (a modification with a maximum potential value) under previously awarded, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity, multiple award contract N00039-15-D-0043 for the Block Upgrade II retrofit of multifunctional information distribution system (MIDS) low volume terminals. Work will be performed in Carlsbad, California. The terminals provide secure, high-capacity, jam-resistant, digital data and voice communications capability for the Navy, Air Force and Army platforms as well as Foreign Military Sales customers. Work is expected to be complete by May 2024. This modification will increase the current contract value from $599,093,506 to $674,467,006.

February 13, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
The Space and Missile Systems Center’s fifth Advanced Extreme High Frequency satellite, AEHF-5, in the faring of United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V vehicle, launches last August at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The center has moved control of the satellite to the new Space Operations Command. Credit: SMC

The Space and Missile Systems Center has transferred its fifth Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite to the new Space Operations Command. Both the center, known as SMC, and the command, known as SpOC, fall under the new U.S. Space Force. Operators from SpOC at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, will now retain control authority for the key military satellite communications capability, the center reported on February 12.

February 1, 2020
By Col. Stephen Hamilton, USA, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Judy Esquibel, USA
Staff Sgt. David Nelson, USA, a signal support systems specialist assigned to 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in support of Resolute Castle 2018, explains near vertical incidence skywave antenna theory to members of Company B, 151st Expeditionary Signal Battalion during a high frequency radio class. Credit: Sgt. 1st Class Kimberly D. Calkins, ANG

As cyber threats continue to grow, so does the reality that digital satellite communications can be degraded and denied either through digital or electromagnetic means. If these capabilities are compromised, however, high frequency radio provides a means to continue communicating even beyond the line of sight by leveraging the ionosphere to refract radio signals back to earth.

The International Communication Union Telecommunication Standardization Sector designates the high frequency (HF) range as between 3 megahertz and 30 megahertz. While this method of communication was utilized extensively up through the 1990s, it began to lose traction in the military when the availability of satellite communications (SATCOM) increased.

January 3, 2020
Posted by Kimberly Underwood
To improve resiliency, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Center is leveraging commercial satellite communications technology for its next series of Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellites on the WGS11+ platform. Pictured is the Boeing-built WGS-9 satellite aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida in 2017. Photo Courtesy of the United Launch Alliance

The U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center is harnessing advanced satellite communication technology from the private sector through the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) 11+ platform and its Pathfinder effort. The WGS-11+ effort is centered on capabilities that will provide more coverage beams, beam-formed bandwidth and frequency re-use than existing legacy systems, according to a release from the center known as SMC, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base.

August 12, 2019
By Kimberly Underwood
Appearing at a Mitchell Institute event on Friday, Col. Dennis Bythewood, USAF, program executive officer, Space Development, Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC), says that the center’s SMC 2.0 effort is about getting rid of stove-piped program structures and flattening the organization to enable innovative and integrated space solutions for the military.

For the last year, the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center, known as SMC, has been revamping how it does business. As part of the service’s Space Command, SMC is at the helm of the military’s satellite communications and is confronting a contested space environment as well as a need to innovate faster. As such, the SMC is pursuing a reorganization it has dubbed SMC 2.0, which involves shifting its contracting and decision-making approaches to improve the nation’s defense-related satellite communications.

March 5, 2019

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., Sunnyvale, California, was awarded a $92,839,119 modification to increase the total ceiling to the previously awarded Mobile User Objective System (MUOS) cost-plus-award fee contract (N00039-04-C-2009) for engineering services, interim logistics services, spares and associated material. MUOS is a narrowband military satellite communication system that supports a worldwide, multiservice population of users, providing modern netcentric communications capabilities while supporting legacy terminals. Work will be performed in Scottsdale, Arizona (90 percent); and Sunnyvale, California (10 percent), and is expected to be completed by October 2020.

October 30, 2018
By Kimberly Underwood
Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander, Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and commander, Air Force Space Command, offers that the SMC 2.0 effort is all about shifting SMC's cultural mindset to be more innovative in satellite communications. Credit: Katie Helwig/AFCEA

The United States is facing a strategic inflection point in terms of how it will pursue satellite communications in an increasingly contested, degraded or operationally limited space environment. In response, the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center developed an overarching effort, dubbed SMC 2.0, spearheading agile acquisition, reorganizing internally and harnessing innovation to keep the military and the country safe from adversarial attacks.

June 27, 2018

LinQuest Corp., Los Angeles, California, has been awarded a $37,149,798 modification (P00078) to contract FA8808-13-C-0009 for systems engineering and integration support to the Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) Systems Directorate. The contract modification is to provide support for MILSATCOM's emerging programs. Work will be performed in Los Angeles, and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2019. Fiscal year 2018 research and development; operations and maintenance; and space procurement funds in the amount of $17,990,676 will be obligated at the time of award. Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is the contracting activity

September 30, 2015
By Rebecca M. Cowen-Hirsch

The Defense Department has reached a turning point in satellite communications (SATCOM) acquisition and deployment. On one hand, it is transitioning SATCOM from narrowband to wideband to keep up with ever-accumulating voice, video and data consumption. On the other, the budget forecast for the foreseeable future does not cover the replacement or addition of military satellite communications (MILSATCOM) systems, except for those within existing programs of record.

September 3, 2014

LinQuest Corporation, Los Angeles, has announced that the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in El Segundo, California, awarded a $29 million, cost-plus-incentive fee and cost-plus-fixed-fee modification to its existing contract. With this option, the total value of LinQuest's Military Satellite Communications Analysis, Systems Integration, and Engineering Services (MASIES) contract for system engineering and integration support services increases to $154.8 million. Simultaneously, the SMC decided to exercise the MASIES contract’s first option that goes through June 30, 2015.

January 31, 2011
By George Seffers

Integral Systems Incorporated, Colorado Spings, Colorado, was recently awarded by the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center a more than $13 million contract modification to its Command and Control System-Consolidated contract. Under the terms of the contract modification, Integral Systems will continue to provide its EPOCH Integrated Product Suite to simplify operations by consolidating satellite ground systems. The contract, first awarded in early 2002, enables a unified command and control capability for the 50th Space Wing's complete family of military communications satellite programs.