The U.S. Space Force (USSF)’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) Development Corps signed a $253.6 million payload development award to Northrop Grumman for the first of up to four separate payload development awards for the Protected Tactical SATCOM (PTS) acquisition, Feb. 12.
This effort, in alignment with SMC delivering warfighting capability at E.P.I.C. Speed (Enterprise, Partnership, Innovation, Culture and Speed), uses the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 804 – “Middle Tier of Acquisition for Rapid Prototyping and Rapid Fielding,” and the FY 2016 NDAA Section 815 – “Amendments to Other Transaction Authority” to achieve an affordable, rapidly delivered, operational capability for tactical warfighters.
PTS is the space component of the Protected Anti-jam Tactical SATCOM family-of-systems architecture that will provide resilient, worldwide, beyond line-of-sight, anti-jam communications to our tactical warfighters, resulting in improved combat effectiveness and fewer combat losses. PTS is a SMC Pacesetter program, demonstrating new processes while delivering rapid capabilities, and supporting SMC’s commitment to radically reducing time from acquisition to warfighter utilization.
“We are excited to partner with Northrup Grumman to enable the rapid development of a protected communications prototype payload,” said Col. Dennis O. Bythewood, program executive officer for SMC’s Development Corps. “The technology maturation and prototyping effort conducted under the SpEC (Space Enterprise Consortium) Other Transaction Authority will allow SMC to harness the innovation of partnerships between traditional defense and non-traditional/small business contractors with a projected on-orbit capability three years earlier than a traditional acquisition.”
The Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, is the U.S. Space Force’s center of excellence for acquiring and developing military space systems. SMC’s portfolio includes space launch, global positioning, military space vehicle communications, defense meteorological space vehicles, range systems, space vehicle control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.