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ASC18: Boeing’s Expanding Satellite Portfolio

Air Force Association’s 2018 Air, Space & Cyber Conference


On 16 August, Leanne Caret, President and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, announced Boeing will acquire El Segundo, California-based Millennium Space Systems, a provider of agile, flight-proven small-satellite solutions, under an acquisition agreement. The acquisition is envisaged to expand Boeing’s satellite and space portfolio, talent and capabilities, across a diverse customer set.

While this acquisition remains a work in progress as AFA convenes, with Boeing unable to speak to specifics of how its business model will change with the acquisition, Cheryl Sampson, Boeing spokesperson, did respond to MONCH’s question if Boeing would now pursue business opportunities in the small satellite sector only in the US or also with military services in US allied nations: “Boeing Phantom Works pursues both government and commercial opportunities in the small satellite sector in the US and internationally.”

As the Millennium Space Systems acquisition evolves, it is certain to enhance a significant number of current Boeing competencies in the military satellite sector.

Troy Dawson, Vice President of Government Satellite Systems, noted Boeing has several existing core capabilities in the military satellite sector: “We have large commercial and government satellite businesses, enabling us to incorporate commercial products and innovations – such as digital processed payloads and phased array antennas – in the military market. We use virtual warfare centres as well as mission and threat modelling to look at the entire ecosystem and threats in all domains, informing our creation of end-to-end solutions for the military to address those threats. We look forward to incorporating Millennium Space Systems’ end-to-end mission solution capabilities, though at this time we will not comment on the Millennium acquisition beyond what was included in the 16 August press release.”

There are some specific milestones on the Boeing government satellite business’s horizon. Mr Dawson noted Boeing, “looks forward to the upcoming launch of Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS)-10, and we are working with the government to get WGS-11 and -12 on contract as quickly as possible.” [SATCOM – Satellite Communications]

As significant, Boeing is, “drawing on our commercial capabilities to create an offering that meets the urgent and rapidly changing needs of the US and allied warfighter.”

Mr Dawson added that in Boeing’s 17-year partnership with the US Air Force for WGS, the satellites’ capability and the company’s commitment to partnering with the service to meet soldiers needs have made it, “a model programme. We have a consistent track record of meeting our cost and schedule commitments. We also have increased capacity and capability with each new WGS satellite while reducing the per-unit cost by using new technologies and incorporating commercial practices. WGS is the most cost-effective asset for high data rate tactical military communications in contested or benign environments, and it forms the backbone of the US military’s global satellite communications,” he concluded.

Marty Kauchak


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