The Block II satellites will be similar to the three Block I satellites already in production. Under Block II, Boeing will add a radio frequency bypass capability designed to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms requiring ultra-high bandwidth and data rates demanded by unmanned aerial vehicles.
In February, the US Air Force authorised Boeing to begin non-recurring engineering and advanced procurement of parts for the fourth WGS satellite. Boeing anticipates authorisation to proceed with full production of WGS F4 and to begin long-lead work for F5 by the end of 2006. The 13kW WGS satellites are based on Boeing’s 702 models and are designed to provide improved communications support for
Boeing is preparing the first WGS satellite for launch in 2007. The Block II contract calls for the launch of F4 by the first quarter of 2011 and subsequent launches every year thereafter. WGS will augment and eventually replace the Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) currently on station.