First of Many More?

The seventh Wideband Global Satcom satellite that the Air Force has just ordered may be the first of six additional WGS spacecraft added to the fleet, according to prime contractor Boeing. WGS-7 is the first spacecraft procured under the WGS Block II follow-on contract, which has options for up to six satellites, the company announced Monday. If all six are procured, that would give the Air Force a total fleet of 12 WGS satellites. The Air Force announced the $182 million contract for WGS-7 on Aug. 19. It is the first installment for the satellite, covering non-recurring start-up activities and advance procurement of long-lead-time parts. WGS spacecraft are currently the Pentagon’s highest capacity military communications satellites. Already the three WGS Block I satellites are operational on obit. Boeing is building WGS-4, -5, and-6 under the Block II contract, and now WGS-7 under the follow-on deal.