Boeing, Raytheon in Stretch Run of Air Force FAB-T Competition

WASHINGTON — Boeing and Raytheon are performing remaining exams and documentation for a hotly contested navy satellite tv for pc communications terminal challenge earlier than the U.S. Air Power downselects to a single contractor in January. 

Boeing Community and House Programs of Arlington, Va., and McKinney, Texas-based Raytheon Community Centric Programs are creating competing Household of Past Line of Sight-Terminal (FAB-T) methods, which might allow the president to speak with the nationwide command authority within the occasion of a nuclear battle. The terminals are designed to function with the Air Power’s Superior Extraordinarily Excessive Frequency (AEHF) constellation of extremely safe, jam-proof communications satellites.

In January, the Air Power is predicted to unveil the complete scope of the FAB-T program and particularly whether or not it is going to deploy the terminals at floor and airborne command facilities solely, or additionally embody them aboard strategic bombers and sure electronic-surveillance plane. Indications are that the service is leaning towards the previous, lower-priced, possibility.

The Authorities Accountability Workplace has stated each corporations have been anticipated to submit plans for each value factors.

In a Nov. 26 interview, Paul Geery, Boeing’s FAB-T program manger, stated the Air Power is “ecstatic” concerning the efficiency of its FAB-T prototype terminals. 

Boeing just lately accomplished flight exams with its prototype aboard a Boeing 707 plane at Hanscom Air Power Base, Mass. The take a look at required sustained connections and knowledge transfers through the AEHF and legacy Milstar satellites throughout maneuvers equivalent to takeoffs and landings. The exams have been carried out on terminals for each airborne command facilities and strategic bombers. Air Power officers have been on website and main the demonstration.

“Our mature providing places us in nice form to ship the full FAB-T configuration,” Geery stated in Nov. 25 press launch. 

However Pentagon leaders can be weighing greater than efficiency in an unsure finances setting. In the course of the interview, Geery stated value would additionally issue into the choice. Air Power acquisition officers have complained just lately that terminal packages are among the many costliest within the house enterprise.

If the Air Power chooses to buy the command-post terminals solely, it could purchase 84 items, Geery stated. If the service opts for the command put up and strategic bomber/surveillance plane possibility, it could purchase 216 terminals. 

Boeing has produced 11 prototype terminals as a part of its growth program.

Raytheon officers beforehand indicated that they deliberate to do “over-the-air” testing of the corporate’s FAB-T prototype in October, connecting with the AEHF constellation — two satellites are in orbit — and proving the system’s capabilities. A 3rd satellite tv for pc launched in September. Raytheon spokesman Peter Ramjug declined to remark for this text.

The FAB-T program, projected to price $4.5 billion, has been in growth for greater than 10 years. Boeing initially was chosen as FAB-T prime contractor, however the Air Power funded a competing effort by Raytheon beginning final 12 months after Boeing’s struggles led to price development and delays on the hassle.

Geery stated he expects the federal government will request yet one more spherical of documentation and updates earlier than the downselect.

FAB-T is considered one of a number of space-related packages going through unsure funding as Congress debates the Protection Division’s finances for the rest of 2014. In its model of the 2014 protection spending invoice, the Senate Appropriations Committee beneficial spending $246 million on navy satellite tv for pc communications terminals, together with FAB-T, which is $90 million lower than the Air Power requested.

When requested if the Air Power might delay the downselect resolution for six months — it has already been pushed again barely from December — Geery stated he was uncertain. “They must decide,” he stated.


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