Second-Guessing the TSAT

Lawmakers want some assurance that USAF has not “prematurely ruled out” adding Transformational Satellite-like capabilities to the more mature Advanced Extremely High Frequency or Wideband Gapfiller satellites to satisfy the military’s global communications needs. (AEHF is slated to replace Milstar communications satellites, beginning in 2008, and to be replaced itself by TSAT. WGS is an interim, largely commercial product, bridging the gap between current high-data rate broadcast systems and TSAT.) The 2006 defense spending bill expresses Congressional concern that TSAT lacks “technical maturity.” Appropriators cut the TSAT program by $400 million, despite threat of an Administration veto. (President Bush has signed the bill into law.) Oh, lawmakers also want an independent review on this program.