Lockheed Martin has won a $2 billion, 10-year contract to build the backbone of a space-based US Air Force network to boost communications links to forces worldwide, the Pentagon announced on January 28.
Lockheed beat Northrop Grumman to lead development of the ground segment of the so-called Transformational Satellite Communications System, or TSAT.
The US Air Force said a ground-based user will be able to connect at 1.5 megabits per second using a one-foot antenna, or roughly 25 times faster than conventional dial-up Internet access connections. Such speeds are capable of handling multiple streams of video, audio and text data. The links are designed to support forces with real-time intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance data.
TSAT is to consist of a ring of five satellites cross-linked by lasers to make the network less vulnerable to potential disruptions on the ground.Work on the the Mission Operations System contract, or TMOS, will take place at Lockheed’s Integrated Systems and Solutions business unit in San Jose, California. The system is expected to start operations in 2014.