Raytheon received a $70 million contract to become a competing supplier for a U.S. military satellite communications equipment program on which the original prime contractor, Boeing, has struggled, the U.S. Defense Department announced Sept. 10.

Under the firm, fixed-priced contract, Raytheon will develop engineering models of a subset of the Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) that provide “Presidential & National Voice Conferencing.” Work is scheduled for completion by July 2013, according to the contract announcement.

Raytheon Network Centric Systems of Marlborough, Mass. was the only bidder for the work. The FAB-T terminals are designed to work with the Air Force’s Advanced Extremely High Frequency secure communications satellites as well as legacy Milstar systems.

Boeing Network and Space Systems of Arlington, Va., was selected as FAB-T prime contractor in 2002 but the program has since encountered lengthy delays and soaring costs. The Air Force acknowledged in February that the program’s cost had grown from an estimated $3.1 billion in 2006 to $4.6 billion. After threatening to cancel Boeing’s cost-plus-award-fee FAB-T contract, the Air Force in April agreed to a restructured fixed-price arrangement that holds the company accountable for any additional cost growth.