Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems said Oct. 6 that the Wideband Global SATCOM-2 (WGS-2) satellite it built for the U.S. Air Force began supporting troops on the ground in the Middle East and Central Asia in mid-August.

WGS-2 launched April 3 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket and was handed over to the Air Force June 15 following on-orbit testing. The first WGS satellite began supporting U.S. and allied operations in the Pacific in April 2008.

The WGS satellites are based on Boeing’s 702 spacecraft platform with 13 kilowatts of power for its Ka- and X-band transponders.

A third Boeing-built WGS satellite is slated to launch later this year. Boeing is working on a second block of WGS satellites with enhanced capabilities to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. Those satellites are planned for launch in 2011 and 2012, Boeing said in the release.