The Air Force awarded a $47 million contract July 22 as part of their ongoing efforts to eventually move all their satellites to a single ground services system.

While historically most satellite systems have been built with their own unique ground service platform, the Air Force has long wanted to move to a common platform for multiple families of satellites called Enterprise Ground Services. While EGS may have to be tweaked to work with the unique mission parameters of any satellite system, the idea is for all of the Air Force’s satellite systems to start from a common suite of command and control ground services. Not only is this expected to save money in the long run since they won’t have to develop a new ground services architecture for each new satellite system, the Air Force hopes that transitioning to EGS will make it easier for satellite operators to move from system to system without having to learn an entirely new platform.

Ohio-based Frontier Technology won the $47 million to provide support for the enterprise ground system and defensive cyber operations. The contract was awarded as part of a sole-source acquisition and work is expected to be completed by July 19, 2024.

"This award bolsters our ability to deliver game-changing capabilities to the war fighter more quickly and efficiently by advancing EGS design, integration, and services delivery efforts as well as cross-domain solutions.” said Joshua Sullivan, materiel leader for EGS, in a July 23 press release. “This contract also provides the options and flexibility needed to operate in an agile services development environment and allows [the Space and Missile Systems Center] and Air Force Space Command to concentrate resources to provide the most secure, effective, and interoperable tactical command and control experience to mission partners across the Air Force space enterprise.”

This is the latest in a number of contracts the Air Force has dolled out to develop its enterprise ground services and move satellite systems to it. On May 17, the Air Force awarded Braxton Technologies $20 million for operations, prototyping and integration of the new system, and a $655 million contract awarded to Engility Corp. in January included work on transitioning to Enterprise Ground Services at some point in the next seven years. The Government Accountability Office has since determined that the contract was awarded incorrectly, and now a competitor is suing the government in federal claims court to stop the Air Force from working with Engility, now part of SAIC, and reopen the competition.

Nathan Strout covers space, unmanned and intelligence systems for C4ISRNET.

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