Boeing, Northrop Move Into Next Phase of Space Force’s Protected Tactical Satcom Program

The U.S. Space Force has selected Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) to design, develop and launch payloads meant to secure military satellite communications as part of the new phase of the Protected Tactical Satcom program, SpaceNews reported Thursday.

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The service expects the Northrop and Boeing payloads to launch in 2024 aboard a commercial or military satellite for on-orbit demonstrations and will assess the PTS prototypes as potential platforms for its next-generation satellites that could replace or augment Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellites and other existing systems for classified communications.

The Space and Missile Systems Center told the publication that each company’s design was  “deliberately evaluated on payload performance, extensibility to full production, modularity, hostability, cost, schedule and risk” and that the service plans to hold a “full and open competition” for the program’s next phase.

In early 2020, the Space Force awarded separate contracts to Boeing, Northrop and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) to develop jam-resistant payloads under the PTS program.

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