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Pentagon contemplates Ku-band transponders for AFRICOM

Oct. 1, 2013

Orbital Ku-band transponders for Africa Command (AFRICOM) are the goal of a request for information by the Space and Missile Systems Center Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate.

“The intent is to identify sources to support a small military communications pathfinder while demonstrating risk mitigation steps toward future innovative, affordable procurement of long term Commercial Satellite Communications (COMSATCOM) capabilities,” said the Air Force.

More specifically, the project seeks to provide “sufficient ITU [International Telecommunications Union], FCC, and/or foreign regulations-compliant Ku-band coverage and capacity over western Africa. SMC intends to procure multiple transponders for the remainder of satellite life on a geostationary-orbit commercial communication satellite while the vendor maintains the required spectrum use authorizations.”

Other objectives include risk mitigation of controlling UAVs without interfering with other communications, alignment with DISA [Defense Information Systems Agency] operations, and leveraging DISA’s Future COMSATCOM Services Acquisition and Regional Satellite Support Center.

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