WASHINGTON — QinetiQ US, a defense contractor based in Lorton, Virginia, was awarded a $224 million contract to provide systems engineering and technical support to the Space Development Agency. 

SDA is an agency under the U.S. Space Force. It is building a mesh network in low Earth orbit — called the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture — projected to have hundreds of satellites.

QinetiQ received a five-year contract for “management and professional services, acquisition support, and engineering and technical analysis needed to deliver the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture,” said a DoD contract announcement Aug. 30. 

DoD said the contract was a competitive acquisition and two offers were received. 

The company won what is known as a SETA contract, short for Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance. SETA contractors typically are hired to support major DoD acquisition programs to augment the government workforce. 

Avantus Federal acquired by QinetiQ

The SDA contract was awarded to Avantus Federal, a government contractor that bid for the work before it was acquired by QinetiQ in November 2022.

QinetiQ US is a subsidiary of QinetiQ Group, a defense and security firm headquartered in the United Kingdom. It acquired Avantus Federal for $590 million.

At the time of the acquisition, Avantus Federal had approximately 1,150 employees with security clearances working for defense, intelligence and homeland security agencies. 

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...