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CAPE CANAVERAL, Nov. 30, 2009 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] announced today that the third Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite it has built for the U.S. Air Force has completed prelaunch testing. The satellite is ready for its scheduled Dec. 2 launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
WGS is the U.S. Department of Defense’s highest-capacity communications satellite system. The launch of WGS-3 will mark the completion of the initial constellation of three satellites that provide high-data-rate communications for U.S. forces and allies around the world.
“This launch represents another huge leap in communications capabilities for U.S. warfighters and allies around the world,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager, Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. “These satellites support a broad range of communications, from full-motion video beamed down from unmanned aerial vehicles, to distribution of maps and imagery to ground troops, to quality-of-life services such as news broadcasts and e-mail delivery to deployed troops. For all branches of our military, WGS saves lives and makes lives better every day.”
WGS-3 will be placed into geosynchronous Earth orbit over the Atlantic Ocean. The satellite joins WGS-1, which entered service over the Pacific Ocean in April 2008, and WGS-2, which began operations over the Middle East in August 2009. Both operational satellites meet and, in some cases, exceed mission requirements.
WGS satellites are built on the proven Boeing 702 platform with 13 kilowatts of power. The payload features reconfigurable coverage areas and the ability to connect X-band and Ka-band users anywhere within their field of view via an onboard digital channelizer — features not available on any other military communications satellite.
Boeing is building three more WGS satellites for the Air Force with enhancements that include a radio frequency bypass to support airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platforms requiring additional bandwidth. Satellites four through six are planned for launch in 2011 and 2013.
LONG BEACH, Calif., Nov. 30, 2009 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced it has received a $23 million contract from the U.S. Air Force for Phase 2 of the B-1 Laptop Controlled Targeting Pod software upgrade. The upgrade will add additional capability to the B-1 bomber aircraft’s targeting system by allowing it to more accurately identify both stationary and moving targets.
Boeing in April finished development on the contract’s Phase 1, a $28 million hardware and software-development phase. The Air Force so far has updated 40 of its 66 B-1s with the software and hardware that allows the aircraft to use the 15 interchangeable Sniper pods and the associated laptops assigned to the fleet.
Phase 2 will complete the integration of the Sniper pod with the B-1 software to deliver single-moving-target kill capability using the Guided Bomb Unit-54 (GBU-54) Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (Laser JDAM). Laser JDAM adds a precision laser guidance set to the standard JDAM tail kit to acquire, track and engage mobile targets. The Air Force fielded the Laser JDAM in May 2008 and has used it successfully in combat.
An additional improvement will enable the targeting pod to find stationary targets and automatically send the target GPS coordinates via the B-1’s avionics system to the weapons. This removes the need to enter the coordinates manually, dramatically reducing both response time and the potential for error.
“The B-1 is a highly adaptable platform capable of contributing in all types of warfare,” said Mahesh Reddy, Boeing B-1 program manager. “Continuing to upgrade the bomber and its tactics, such as the targeting pod, allows it to remain flexible and reliable.”
Boeing will begin design and development of the Phase 2 software immediately. The software is expected to enter testing in February 2011.
SEATTLE, Nov. 28, 2009 – Boeing has recently learned that an MD-11 freighter airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from Shanghai Pudong International Airport on Saturday morning (local time). All of us at Boeing wish to offer our condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives in the crash. We will keep the injured crew members and their families in our thoughts. At the invitation of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, Boeing is providing technical assistance to the investigation in coordination with the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
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