[defenseindustrydaily.com] As video communications is integrated into robots, soldiers, and UAVs, and network-centric warfare becomes the organizing principle of American warfighting, front-line demands for bandwidth are rising faster than the US military can add it. The Transformation Communications Satellite (TSAT) System is part of a larger effort by the US military to address that need, and close the gap.
DID’s FOCUS articles offer in-depth, updated looks at significant military programs of record – and TSAT is certainly significant. The final price tag on the entire program has been quoted at anywhere from $14-25 billion through 2016, including the satellites, the ground operations system, the satellite operations center and the cost of operations and maintenance. Lockheed Martin and Boeing have each won over $600 million in risk reduction contracts for the TSAT SS satellite system, and their respective bids are in. Both teams continue to await a decision, which was supposed to have been made in late 2007. TSAT’s $2 billion TMOS ground-based network operations contract is already underway.
The TSAT constellation’s central role in next-generation US military infrastructure makes it worthy of in-depth treatment – but its survival is not assured. Outside events and incremental competitors could spell its end, just as they spelled the end of Motorola’s infamous Iridium project. This FOCUS article examines that possibility, even as it offers an overview of the US military’s vision for its communications infrastructure, how TSAT fits, the program’s challenges, and complete coverage of contracts and significant events. New additions are highlighted in green for your convenience.
The latest item is yet another significant delay in the TSAT-SS contract, which was supposed to be awarded in 2007. That contract has now moved to FY 2010 – if it ever happens at all. But extentions to the program’s R&D efforts continue…