WASHINGTON — Satellite operator Intelsat will pay an undisclosed sum to add an ultra-high frequency (UHF) military communications payload to a second of four satellites ordered from Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, Intelsat announced Aug. 16.

Washington-based, Luxembourg-headquartered Intelsat last year agreed to purchase the four Boeing 702MP communications satellites, with one of those spacecraft, Intelsat 22, to include a UHF payload for lease by the Australian Defence Force. Intelsat will now pay Boeing to include an identical UHF payload on one of the other satellites to serve U.S. government customers, an Intelsat press release said. The new 20-channel UHF payload will be carried aboard the Intelsat 27 satellite slated for launch in 2012.

The U.S. Navy faces a looming UHF satellite communications gap as its aging UHF Follow-On (UFO) constellation degrades and the next-generation Mobile User Objective System has been delayed. The UHF payload aboard Intelsat 27 will have capacity equivalent to one UFO satellite, the press release said.