WASHINGTON — A demonstration at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland validated Boeing’s design for a ground-based system that can protect communication satellites from signal jamming, according to the company.
Boeing is developing the U.S. Space Force’s Protected Tactical Enterprise Services ground system, which can defend against electronic warfare threats to military and commercial satellites.
The demonstration, which took place from Jan. 16 to 20, was the first time the company tested the full slate of PTES capabilities using a commercial satellite, it said in a statement. The system is envisioned to be operational by 2024 and will initially support the Space Force’s Wideband Global Satellite Communication spacecraft, which Boeing also builds.
“By augmenting current systems with PTES, which is designed to be forward and backward compatible with government and commercial systems, the U.S. DoD and its allies are able to meet the challenges of an evolving battlefield,” said Troy Dawson, Boeing’s vice president of government satellite systems.
The company has been developing PTES since 2018, when the Air Force awarded it a $383 million contract to address an operational need in the Pacific region.
The ground system is part of a larger satellite communication modernization effort projected to cost $2.4 billion between fiscal 2023 and 2027. The Space Force plans to spend more than $600 million on PTES in that time frame and another $1.8 billion to develop a satellite constellation called Protected Tactical SATCOM, which will provide secure communications for military users.
Boeing and Northrop are designing prototype payloads for those satellites, which will in fly in on-orbit demonstrations in 2024.
The companies are also competing with Lockheed Martin to develop the Space Force’s new classified communication satellites, used by the Defense Department’s nuclear-capable bombers, ballistic missiles and submarines. The program, called Evolved Strategic Satellite Communications, could cost the service nearly $5.5 billion over the next five years.
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.