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.
In its enduring space race to narrow the materializing gap between the United States and peer competitors, the Air Force’s fiscal year 2017 budget emphasizes sustaining mission capabilities and improving space resilience by investing in command and control programs, situational awareness technologies, expendable launch systems and satellite communications.
Years ago, commercial satellite providers successfully nudged their way into the military space domain, providing critical bandwidth services for platforms for which the Defense Department could not, particularly for airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (AISR) missions. More than a decade later, some companies are gambling with technological improvements in hopes of retaining that hold on the lucrative market.
Pathfinder Systems Incorporated, Arvada, Colorado, is being awarded a more than $6 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for a Phase III Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project for the operational prototype Marine Common Aircrew Trainer (MCAT) prototype two. This SBIR Phase III project will implement a baseline configuration upgrade based on the previously delivered MCAT prototype one and will build upon previously demonstrated and delivered Phase II simulation technologies. The Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, Florida, is the contracting activity.