The Space and Missile Systems Center selected L3Harris and Raytheon to develop and produce anti-jam satcom modems.

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Space Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center awarded contracts each worth up to $500 million to Raytheon and L3Harris to develop and produce cyber secure satellite communications modems for the Department of the Air Force and the Army.

The contracts awarded on March 27 are for research, development and production of Protected Tactical Waveform capable modems for tactical satellite communication operations.

Raytheon received an initial order for $37.6 million and L3Harris’ order is for $30.6 million. Under the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity multi-award contracts, each company can receive up to $500 million in orders. They are both five-year contracts with options to extend them another five years, said SMC.

The initial orders are for the design, development, fabrication, integration, certification, technical manuals, and testing of Block 1 “pizza box” form factor modems for use in the Air Force Ground Multiband Terminal and the Army Satellite Transportable Terminal, an SMC spokesperson told SpaceNews. In the coming years, SMC plans to order as many as 1,500 Block 1 modems for the Air Force and the Army.

SMC announced on March 30 that the awards were made four months earlier than planned because there is a pressing need for this technology.

The Protected Tactical Waveform is anti-jam software that SMC developed to run over military satcom terminals that communicate with the Wideband Global Satcom constellation. The anti-jam waveform provides secure communications in a frequency-agnostic format.

L3Harris and Raytheon were in a three way competition with Viasat for the modem contract. SMC in 2016 awarded three contracts — $39 million to Raytheon, $38 million to L3Harris and $33 million to Viasat — to develop prototype modems. The Air Force, Space Force, Army and the National Security Agency participated in the source selection.

The Protected Tactical Waveform modems are a “critical capability to increase anti-jam and communications capacity for joint tactical warfighters in contested environments,” Shannon Pallone, senior materiel leader at SMC’s tactical satcom division, said in a statement.

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...