Correction: This story has been updated to correct information about the Protected Tactical Satellite Communications mission.

WASHINGTON — Boeing has achieved a key design milestone for a U.S. Space Force satellite communication payload meant to protect against jamming.

The payload is part of the service’s Protected Tactical Satellite Communications Program (PTS) — a rapid prototyping effort to improve anti-jam capabilities using a new Protected Tactical Waveform. Boeing and Northrop Grumman are designing prototypes that will fly in on-orbit demonstrations in 2024.

The Space Enterprise Consortium awarded contracts to both companies, along with Lockheed Martin, in 2020 — Boeing received $191 million, Northrop $253 million and Lockheed a $240 million contract. Last year, the service selected Boeing and Northrop to progress their designs to the next phase of development.

Boeing said in a press release Wednesday the recent completion of a critical design review sets it up to begin integrating and testing its payload on a host satellite next year. The company is using digital engineering to design an “agile, scalable and flexible solution.”

“The Space Force’s incremental demonstration approach is allowing us to bring capabilities rapidly to the warfighter while mitigating risk for future technology developments,” Boeing Government Satellite Systems Vice President Troy Dawson said in the press release. “Our scalable software-defined payload will be able to accommodate and grow to meet the needs of any mission, and it can be hosted on commercial or government platforms.”

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.