Air Force picks Lockheed for space-based communications project

The Air Force has selected Lockheed Martin Corp. for its multibillion-dollar Transformational Satellite Communications System (TSAT) Mission Operations System contract (TMOS).

The TMOS contract is for 10 years and has an anticipated value of $2.1 billion. The Air Force made the announcement late last Friday.

The TSAT program is intended to create a network system that connects the Pentagon's Earth-based Global Information Grid to Defense Department users around the world. Within that program, TMOS will provide network services and operational and network management as part of the GIG.

The purpose of the program is to increase warfighter communications capabilities, including supporting communications on the move and airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. TMOS will provide circuit and packet mission planning and policy management, external network coordination, network operations and management, cryptographic-key management, and situational awareness for warfighters in a secure environment.

Lockheed Martin's Integrated Systems and Solutions unit, based in San Jose, Calif., will carry out the work on TMOS.

Air Force officials declined to say whether Raytheon or Northrop Grumman Corp., the other bidders on TMOS, have indicated they will protest the award. All three companies had been working, both together and separately, over the past 18 months to design a possible architecture for the system, according to Brig. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, program director for the Military Satellite Joint Communication Joint Program Office.

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