Firm to assist in satellite transition

The Air Force Space Command this week announced that it has awarded SI International Inc. a contract to support the transition from the Defense Department's current satellite communication systems to the next generation of highly secure, high-capacity communications satellites.

As the prime contractor, SI International will support the command's Military Satellite Communications Systems Division by providing technical analysis, consulting and engineering assistance services during the transition to the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) system and the National Strategic Satellite Communications System.

The McLean, Va.-based company also will provide guidance on the Transformational Communications Study, which DOD initiated this year to accelerate the delivery of advanced capabilities to the field.

The four-and-a-half-year, $1.9 million contract also specifies that the firm will design a satellite communications system transition database, said Ray Oleson, chairman and chief executive officer of SI International. The contract was announced July 16 and awarded in May. Oleson said the company's "broad range of satellite communication knowledge" would help it provide a transition plan moving from the current, "numerous satellite communication systems networks and users to a single National Strategic Satellite Communications System."

The Air Force awarded the team of Lockheed Martin Corp. and TRW Inc. nearly $2.7 billion late last year for the AEHF program, which follows the DOD's current Milstar communications satellite program.

AEHF will provide 10 times greater total capacity over Milstar communications satellites, allowing for tactical military communications such as real-time video, battlefield maps and targeting data, according to the Air Force.

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