WGS satellites Air Force
WGS satellites. Credit: Boeing

WASHINGTON — Boeing will deliver the 11th satellite of the Wideband Global Satellite Communication (WGS) constellation to the U.S. Air Force by 2024, the company said Dec. 26.

The announcement comes eight months after Boeing received a $605 million contract for the production of the WGS-11 satellite that Congress funded in 2018. The WGS constellation provides broadband communications to the U.S. military and allies.

Boeing said it has developed a new variant of its commercial 702 satellite for WGS-11 that “offers both greater bandwidth efficiency and signal power than previous satellites in the fleet,” the company said in a news release.

“WGS-11 will deliver hundreds of coverage beams and provide a more flexible and efficient use of bandwidth,” Troy Dawson, Boeing vice president of government satellite systems, said in a statement.

The new satellite will support more users and allow dedicated beams to follow aircraft in flight, said Dawson. “We look forward to delivering this critically important asset to the U.S. Air Force in 2024.”

The satellite is being acquired with funds Congress inserted into  the fiscal year 2018 budget but the Air Force had not requested.

Boeing has been the WGS prime contractor since 2001. The first satellite was launched in 2007. The newest satellite WGS-10 launched March 15 on a United Launch Alliance Delta 4 medium rocket.

U.S. Space Command announced in November that WGS-10 was operational and providing communications services.

WGS has become a multinational program. In exchange for access to a portion of the WGS constellation, Australia provided funds for WGS-6 while Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand helped fund WGS-9.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...