Competition Afoot to Develop Post-Nuclear Comm System

Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 9, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

Two ma­jor de­fense cor­por­a­tions are com­pet­ing to build a series of satel­lite com­mu­nic­a­tions mech­an­isms that would al­low an Amer­ic­an pres­id­ent to re­main in con­tact with mil­it­ary com­mand­ers even after a nuc­le­ar at­tack, ac­cord­ing to Mil­it­ary.com.

Ray­theon was asked last year by the Air Force to com­pete with Boe­ing, whose design has faced mul­tiple changes and delays, ac­cord­ing to the web­site.

Mil­it­ary.com re­por­ted that the Ray­theon sys­tem, based on tech­no­logy that was de­veloped for the Army and Navy, had cleared a design re­view in June and is set to be part of a satel­lite test in Oc­to­ber.

In re­sponse to re­quests from the Air Force, Boe­ing ad­jus­ted a num­ber of design fea­tures, in­clud­ing adding a sys­tem that would al­low of­fi­cials to speak to one an­oth­er us­ing a series of satel­lites and ter­min­als. The sys­tem is to be based on the ground and in­stalled in air­planes. However, the Air Force re­portedly does not want to add the ter­min­als to its bomber air­craft, a move that the GAO warned would cause the sys­tem to “not meet its full range of planned com­mu­nic­a­tions cap­ab­il­it­ies.”

The bomber fleet has been threatened re­cently by se­quest­ra­tion cuts, re­portedly leav­ing the Air Force with two op­tions: re­tire old bombers and sus­tain fund­ing for new planes or main­tain a lar­ger fleet of aging bombers.

The pro­gram’s costs have gone up 48 per­cent from the ori­gin­al es­tim­ates, partly be­cause of the lengthy delays that the pro­gram has faced, ac­cord­ing to the web­site.

Mil­it­ary.com re­por­ted that the Air Force in­tends for the com­pet­i­tion to help con­trol costs and en­sure that the sys­tem is ready by 2015. 

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