U.S. Army taps DataPath as new lead contractor for military satcom support
WASHINGTON — Georgia-based company DataPath will be the U.S. Army’s new lead support for satcom field services, as well as supporting the Pentagon’s Combatant Commands, after winning a more-than $300 million contract, the company announced.
“We’re providing the full range of support for basically every class of satcom terminal in the field, from a man-pack portable terminal to a vehicle mounted system to one that’s built into a trailer or a mobile command center,” said David Myers, DataPath’s president and CEO. “Every range, every mission type, if there’s satcom field equipment involved, DataPath is the primary support provider.”
Known as the Global Tactical Advanced Communication Systems services contract, it’s the Army’s main contracting vehicle for getting field support downrange for satcom terminals and controllers, including both hardware and software support.
The 2016 version of the contract is set to run for four and a half years and is estimated at $363 million. It also represents a unification of several previous existing agreements that operated as an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract with multiple provides essentially pre-qualified to bid on specific tasks. Now the Army has put those efforts into a single contracting vehicle, which it awarded to DataPath.
“It rolled together a lot of work that had been done under the legacy contracts,” Myers said.
As for DataPath, it will see 200 field services support personnel deploy to military locations across 20 countries. All of the company’s systems are designed to work with the Defense Department’s Wideband Global Satcom system, a constellation of military owned and controlled communication satellites.
But the company’s ground-based terminals and support work are also compatible with commercial satcom systems, including Inmarsat’s new Global Xpress network and satellite systems operated by Intelsat and SES.
DataPath was previously a subcontractor for the satcom services, and Myers said it’s been working with the military since 1996, close to the founding of the company. DataPath was previously owned by Rockwell Collins, but spun off as an independent company in 2014.
The years since have been a “rebuilding” process, Myers said, to get the company to stand on its own two feet.
“Over the last couple of years, since the middle of ‘14, we’ve been rebuilding the business, launching a lot of new products, investing in new business capabilities, not the least of which is field and professional services to support satcom and all kinds of remote communications requirements for the military,” he said. Earning the contract is “really validation that all the work we’ve done over the last two to three years to really be independent, rebuilding the business, has been recognized by our customers, particularly by the U.S. Army.”
SpaceNews contacted the Army, but – likely due to the Christmas and New Year holidays – did not receive a response as of press time.
In 2012, during one of the previous awards for support services, then-Lt. Col. Greg Coile, the Army’s product manager for satcom, said in a press release that the “contract’s range, flexibility and consolidation capabilities will enable the Army, Department of Defense and other agencies to spend more efficiently and get needed capability into the hands of soldiers at a faster pace.”