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Wideband Gapfiller System

Scope and Schedule

WGS-1 October 10, 2007
WGS-2 April 04, 2009
WGS-3 December 05, 2009
WGS-4 January 19, 2012
WGS-5 May 23, 2013
WGS-6 August 07, 2013
WGS-7 23 July 2015
WGS-8 September 2016
(Current as of March 2015)
Because of the commercial nature of this program, there was no lead-in development phase. The WGS program planned to proceed directly from award to launch in one combined EMD/Production phase, with development scheduled over three years. The Request for Proposal (RFP) was released 14 April 2000, with proposals due 45 days after RFP release. As of 2000 the first launch of the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite System was slated for the fourth quarter of 2003. At the time of contract award in January 2001, Boeing Satellite Systems planned to develop, produce and launch three satellites, with the first to be launched in early 2004. As of July 2003, the first of the three Wideband Gapfiller satellites was slated to start launching in February 2005.

Jointly funded by the US Air Force and US Army, the WGS contract includes options for as many as six Boeing 702 satellites and associated spacecraft and payload ground control equipment. The 2001 Defense Appropriations Act of 09 August 2000, limited funding to two satellites. The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) subsequently signed a Program Decision Memorandum (PDM) on 22 August 2000 hat supplemented WGS funding by $272.9 million, to provide funding of the complete constellation of three satellites. As of late 2002 the Pentagon planned to buy three WGS satellites from Boeing, and in early January 2003 Boeing was awarded a US Air Force contract option to build the third satellite in the WGS program. The Air Force included money in its fiscal year 2004/2009 spending plan to purchase an additional three WGS spacecraft. The need for additional time to plan and mature technology for Transformational Communications System prompted the Pentagon to purchase two extra Wideband Gapfiller Satellites. The FY04 President's Budget (FY04-09) includes funding for Wideband Gapfiller Satellites 1-5. The contract with Boeing will allow the Defense Department to purchase up to 12 spacecraft.

A July 1997 report by the Department of Defense Inspector General entitled "Communications Capability with The Department of Defense to Support Two Major Regional Conflicts Nearly Simultaneously" identified significant deficiencies in the Department of Defense satellite communications capacity and other communications systems. A number of actions were taken or planned to address the problems identified in the July 1997 Inspector General report.

Even as the IG report was being written, key questions raised in the report were being answered by the Transition Working Group led by the then Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Space (now part of the C3I organization) and the Senior Warfighter Forum led by the Deputy CINC USSPACECOM. These groups identified the correct mix of capacity for each segment based on a detailed assessment of future warfighting needs given an overall fixed budget. Using this information, the groups outlined system acquisition details, including the schedules for replacing the current generation of satellites. One of the key refinements in the Transition Plan approved in August 1997 was the establishment of the Wideband Gapfiller program that would accelerate deployment of a more than five-fold increase in wideband capacity to the warfighter. The Wideband Gapfiller was planned for a first launch in 2004, sooner than the previously envisioned Advanced Wideband System (previously launching in 2006, re-scheduled for 2008).

On 5 August 1998, the DoD SATCOM Senior Steering Group (SSG) tasked the Navy and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to co-lead, with joint participation, the evaluation of commercial business cases for emerging commercial SATCOM systems in K/Ka-band.

In September 1999, DoD officials approved the Wideband gapfiller to be the first DoD-owned MilSatCom system to be procured under the Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 12, which governs acquisition of commercial items.

The WGS received MS II/III approval in November 2000 and awarded a FFP contract in Janueary 2001. On 02 January 2001, Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS) received a Department of Defense (DoD) contract for the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite (WGS) program. The procuring agency is the U.S. Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, CA. Operational and logistics support and training are also included in the program. As of October 2002 the contract value surpassed $500 million and included non-recurring engineering, WGS satellites F1 and F2, long-lead elements for F3, and four payload control elements. This contract includes options that could, if exercised, extend the WGS effort through December 2010 at a value of up to $1,305,800,000.

In August 2001 the Boeing-led team that is building the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite announced successful completion of a recent series of preliminary design reviews (PDRs), a key milestone for the program.

On 16 July 2002, the Government awarded an $89 million contract to provide and support Wideband Gapfiller Ka-Band Satellite Earth Terminals to ITT Industries, Colorado Springs, Colo. ITT will provide the primary strategic terminals that the DoD will use to communicate over the Wideband Gapfiller Satellites (WGS), scheduled for launch in mid 2004. The contract includes a guaranteed buy of 2 Ka-band satellite earth terminals, with a potential buy of up to 50 terminals over a six-year period. It also includes a 10-year provision to provide complete life cycle support of the earth terminals.

In December 2002, OSD directed the addition of two more WGS satellites as part of the transformational communications architecture; satellites 4 and 5 will support increased bandwidth requirements for the Airborne Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance mission. All five satellites will be purchased with Procurement funds, and the Non-Recurring Engineering (NRE) is funded with RDT&E.

On December 20, 2002 Boeing Integrated Defense Systems was awarded a U.S. Air Force contract option to build a third satellite in the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite. Boeing had received funding to build the first two satellites in January 2002 for launches scheduled in 2004. The third satellite was scheduled to launch in 2005. The WGS contract includes options for as many as six Boeing 702 satellites and associated spacecraft and payload ground control equipment that is jointly funded with the U.S. Army. With the current option for the WGS F3 satellite, the total value of the contract is now approximately $660 million.

On 21 February 2003 it was announced that International Launch Services (ILS) will launch Wideband Gapfiller Satellite #2 (WGS-2) on an Atlas V rocket as its first government mission under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Launch was scheduled for no earlier than December 2004 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. This is the first of seven Atlas V launches awarded to ILS by the Air Force under the EELV program. For the launch of WGS-2, the Atlas 5 rocket will fly in the 521 configuration. That version uses the large 5-meter nose cone and two strap-on solid rocket motors.

On June 20, 2003 Boeing Satellite Systems, Los Angeles, CA, was awarded a $12,166,200 contract modification for the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite Program to fabricate and utilize two test batteries to be used for satellite pre-launch testing the nickel-hydrogen batteries, which feature advanced 328 amp-hour cells. The batteries will be manufactured and tested in full accordance with flight hardware requirements. The contract modification also includes efforts associated with installation and removal of these batteries on the various wideband gapfiller satellites and reconditioning a cold storage of the batteries when not in use. The test batteries will be delivered to the government at the end of the program. Total funds have been obligated.

Boeing said 15 July 2003 that it was recording a $265 million second-quarter loss at Boeing Satellite Systems, due to difficulties on four projects. The programs are: the Hughes Electronics Corp. Spaceway project, Telesat Canada's Anik F2 satellite; the US military's Wideband Gapfiller communications system; and the US government's Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system. The Wideband Gapfiller, Spaceway and Anik F2 satellites are all based on Boeing's 702 platform. The problems with the Spaceway and Telesat satellites derived from their complex communications payloads, which took longer to develop than expected.

On August 14, 2003 the Wideband Gapfiller Satellites Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) was submitted to the Congress for the June 30, 2003 reporting period. The SAR reported schedule slips to the Initial Operational Capability (from June 2005 to April 2006) and to Full Operational Capability (from June 2006 to February 2007), due primarily to manufacturing difficulties by the contractor. There were no cost changes reported.

On 18 June 2004 Boeing Satellite Systems, Inc., El Segundo, Calif., was awarded a $6,540,000 firm-fixed-price contract modification to conduct additional environmental testing for Flight 1 of the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite program. This testing will provide additional assurance for mission success for Flight 1. The Wideband Gapfiller Satellites will provide the warfighter flexibility high capacity communications supporting voice and data transmission. The capacity of one Gapfiller Satellite is greater than the capacity of the entire Defense Satellite Communications System, constellation it will replace. At this time 6,250,000 of the funds has been obligated. This work will be complete by April 2005. The Headquarters Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting activity (F04701-00-C-0011, P00085).

On 18 June 2004 Boeing Co. Anaheim, Calif. was awarded a $39,095,000 cost-plus award-fee contract modification to provide for the implementation of revised NSA information assurance security requirements for the Family of Advanced Beyond-Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-1) providing enhanced information assurance. These modifications will be incorporated into 16 advanced extremely high frequency engineering development models of terminals for the B-2, B-52, E-4, and RC-135 aircraft and for ground-fixed and ground-transportable command post terminals. Terminal hardware and software will be modified to accommodate the information assurance revisions. FAB-T provides the next generation of high data rate satellite communications using Advanced EHF, Wideband, Gapfiller, and other future satellite systems. This work will be complete by October 2006. The Headquarters Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., is the contracting activity ((F19628-02-C-0048, P00025).

As of January 2005 the first WGS launch was scheduled for December 2005, launch of second satellite is scheduled for August 2006, and launch of third satellite is scheduled for no later than January 2007. Launches for satellites 4-5 are scheduled for FY2009-2010.

On October 3, 2005 The Wall Street Journal reported that the initial WGS launch would be delayed 15 more months due to installation of potentially substandard parts. Problems with an unspecified number of fasteners used on the $1.8-billion Wideband Gapfiller program were expected to push out the first launch to roughly June 2007.

The on-orbit WGS constellation is comprised of six satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The first WGS satellite was launched in October 2007. There are three Block I satellites (launched in October 2007, April 2009, December 2009) and three WGS Block II satellites (launched in January 2012, May 2013, and August 2013).

Part of the Space and Missile Systems Center's MILSATCOM Directorate, the Wideband MILSATCOM Division is responsible for development, acquisition, fielding and sustainment of the WGS Program. Four Block II follow-on satellites were anticipated for launch between FY15 and FY 18. WGS satellites are launched either via the Delta IV or the Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.

The US Air Force successfully launched the seventh Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV launch vehicle from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. on July 23, at 8:07 p.m. EDT. Acquired for the Air Force by the Space and Missile Systems Center's Military Satellite Communications Directorate and built by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, a unit of The Boeing Company, WGS is the nation's next-generation wideband satellite communications system supporting soldiers, sailors, airman, Marines and international partners around the world. Over the next few months, Boeing would begin on-orbit testing of WGS-7 to verify nominal performance and prepare the satellite for operational use. Ultimately, WGS-7 will be controlled by the U.S. Air Force's 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. WGS-7 was expected to enter operations in early 2016.

WGS-8 was scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida in September 2016.

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Page last modified: 10-04-2016 20:51:01 ZULU