Boeing-Built Wideband Gapfiller Military Satellite Communications Program Passes Major Design Milestone

The Boeing-led team that is building the Wideband Gapfiller Satellite (WGS), a high-capacity military satellite communications system, today announced successful completion of a recent series of preliminary design reviews (PDRs), a key milestone for the program. Boeing Satellite Systems (BSS), a unit of The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA), is heading an industry team building WGS under a January 2001 contract award with a total potential value of $1.3 billion. Initial launch is scheduled for early 2004.

"The Preliminary Design Reviews have been a fantastic team effort by well over 100 Boeing and government specialists, engineers, stakeholders and gray-beards. Together they have made the WGS design even better," said Lt. Col. Brian Magazu, the U.S. Air Force's WGS program manager. "As one team, this program is maintaining tremendous velocity and focus. We are on track."

Twelve days of PDRs focused on the space and ground segments of the program as well as the overall system. The meetings involved a broad range of customer participation, including Air Force, Army, Navy and Department of Defense agency personnel as well as their system engineering and technical assistance support contractors. Also included were WGS program teammates and senior technical experts from Boeing.

"We are extremely pleased to have successfully completed this very important milestone in the WGS program," said Mike Gianelli, vice president and general manager of DoD and Civil Programs at BSS. "The PDR is the product of great effort by many BSS employees and our teammates and subcontractors, all of whom worked as integrated product teams with their government counterparts to achieve remarkable progress in just under seven months since the award of the contract."

With successful completion of these PDRs behind them, the Boeing team is ready to conduct a series of more detailed reviews leading to design efforts that will culminate in the next major program review milestone, Critical Design Review, which is scheduled to begin later this year. At those reviews, the team will present detailed designs and determine readiness to begin production.

A joint-service program funded by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army, the WGS contract was initially valued at $160.3 million for non-recurring engineering and advanced long-lead materiel for three spacecraft. However, the program has options for as many as six Boeing 702 satellites and associated spacecraft and payload ground-control equipment. The procuring agency is the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC).

As WGS prime contractor and overall systems integrator, Boeing leads a team of satellite communications industry leaders. Harris Corp. supplies expertise in terminal and payload interfaces as well as the satellite Ka-band antenna subsystem. ITT Industries is integrating the payload control segment. Logicon is leading the effort in system security engineering. SAIC supports the overall WGS systems engineering effort.

The WGS System Program Office at SMC received the Air Force's John J. Welch Award for acquisition management this year for its aggressive pursuit of DoD acquisition-reform strategies modeled after commercial item acquisitions.

Boeing is the world's leading manufacturer of commercial communications satellites, and is also a major provider of space systems, satellites, and payloads for national defense, science and environmental applications.

The Boeing Company is the largest aerospace company in the world and the United States' leading exporter. It is NASA's largest contractor and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft. The company's capabilities in aerospace also include rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, launch vehicles, satellites, and advanced information and communication systems. The company has an extensive global reach with customers in 145 countries.

For further information:
George Torres
(310) 364-5777