Air Force Aims to Boost Military Satcom System’s Cybersecurity With New Software, Ground Equipment

The U.S. Air Force has begun to develop new software and ground system to protect military satellite communications equipment operating through the service’s Wideband Global Satcom system from cyber threats, SpaceNews reported Wednesday.

The service has started to work on anti-jam communications software – Protected Tactical Waveform – and ground platform –  Protected Tactical Enterprise Service – designed to manage the waveform transmission via WGS terminals and satellites.

“We are doing agile software development to enable early use of the PTW capability,” Col. Tim Mckenzie, chief of the advanced development division for military satcom at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, told SpaceNews in an interview.

Boeing won a potential seven-year, $383.4M contract in November to develop PTES for the Air Force.

Mckenzie noted the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carrier-based strike groups in the Pacific will get the new ground system and software in 2022.

He said he expects the Air Force to award the contracts for protected tactical satcom payloads in fiscal 2020 as part of its plan to have those payloads in orbit by fiscal 2025.

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