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Advanced Polar System (APS)

The Advanced Polar System (APS) will provide next generation protected Extremely High Frequency Satellite Communications (EHF SATCOM) capability in the north polar region. APS will also support tactical users who require anti-jam and low probability of detection EHF SATCOM.

Hosting an EHF package such as was done with Interim Polar was considered, but did not meet requirements. Nuclear hardening requirements make APS a stand alone satellite rather than just a follow-on to the Interim Polar capability.

In 1995 the Joint Requirements Oversight Council recognized the need for polar coverage. At that time, payloads were added to host satellites, which provided minimal coverage. The Advanced Polar System was proposed for the 2008-2010 timeframe to replace the host packages already in use. This will provide much needed coverage for ships and aircraft operating in these regions.

APS is part of the Air Force's Transformational Communications Architecture (TCA). As a result of the Transformational Communications Architecture the APS program was changed from a two satellite constellation with ground gateways to three orbital satellites with laser crosslinks with the TSAT constellation. The June 2003 approved Acquisition Strategy presented APS, TSAT and associated ground infrastructure as the two DoD Transformational Communications space systems being acquired as TCM.

The Transformational Communications Architecture effort in FY03 described a program of three satellites (two funded with RDT&E and one fully funded with missile procurement) in highly inclined orbits (HIO) with laser crosslinks with the Transformational SATCOM (TSAT) satellite constellation. Together, APS and TSAT programs make up the Transformational Communications for MILSATCOM (TCM) program. The APS satellites will have many of the TSAT features permitting synergy with TSAT technology.

In 2004 the Air Force was revisiting Concept of Operations (CONOPS) and Combatant Commanders are reviewing Operations Plans (OPLANs) requirements for polar communications in support of trade and feasibility studies.

The program funded in FY2005 supported a FY13 launch. The Advanced Polar System (APS) was intended to provide next generation protected EHF SATCOM capability in the north polar region starting in FY09 based on the July 1995 Polar MILSATCOM ORD. The initial APS program planned to acquire three satellites (2 funded with RDT&E and one fully funded with missile procurement) and survivable ground gateways.

A full and open competition is anticipated for the design, development and production of an Advanced Polar system. As of 2001 the RFP release was contemplated for July 2003. The TCM space segment contract for system definition and risk reduction (Phase B) was to be awarded to two contractors in FY04 for the TSAT satellite. In FY06, after a full and open competition, the final TSAT space segment development contractor will be selected. Modification to that future contract adding the APS satellite will be considered at that time.

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 13:03:59 ZULU