The Air Force is preparing a Boeing Company Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) satellite for launch, and once in orbit the satellite will relay data and imagery from airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms, the company says.
Boeing has delivered the new WGS satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. from which it will join three other WGS satellites in orbit where it will carry the bulk of satellite communications traffic for the armed forces and other government agencies, the company says.
Built at Boeing’s El Segundo manufacturing facility, WGS-4 is the first Block II WGS satellite. The new series adds performance upgrades such as a switchable radio frequency bypass that supports the transmission of airborne ISR imagery at data rates approximately three times greater than those currently available to the U.S. Department of Defense. With the addition of WGS-4, all WGS satellites will continue to provide warfighters with instant, worldwide SATCOM connectivity, Boeing says.
“New airborne surveillance platforms are driving a need for higher data rates, and the upgrades on WGS-4 are designed specifically to meet these emerging requirements,” said Craig Cooning, Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems’ vice president and general manager.
WGS satellites are built on Boeing’s 702HP platform, which features highly efficient xenon-ion propulsion, deployable thermal radiators and advanced triple-junction gallium-arsenide solar arrays that enable high-capacity, flexible payloads. The WGS communications payload has unique flexibility that is important to the military, as well as the ability to interconnect terminals that operate in different frequency bands and to reposition coverage beams based on evolving mission needs, Boeing says.