Northrop Grumman handed over the first of two protected communications payloads for the Air Force’s Enhanced Polar System, announced the company. EPS, which the Air Force intends to start operating in 2018, is designed to provide continuous secure, jam-resistant, strategic and tactical military communications in the north polar region, according the company’s Feb. 25 release. It will consist of two extremely high frequency payloads hosted on classified satellites, plus terrestrial terminals and a control and planning segment, states the release. The first payload leverages technologies that the company developed for the Air Force’s Advanced EHF satellite payloads. “Because EPS takes advantage of technologies we developed for Advanced EHF satellite payloads . . . we are developing these payloads at a fraction of the time and cost,” said Tim Frei, Northrop Grumman’s vice president for communication systems. EPS will replace the Interim Polar System currently on orbit and will serve as a polar adjunct to AEHF, states the release. EPS payload development began in 2008, said the company.
The Pentagon awarded a contract worth over $2 billion for the next batch of F-35 engines to Pratt & Whitney on June 5. The deal for Lot 17 F135 engines, totaling $2.02 billion, is expected to be completed by December 2025.