Military communications capabilities expanded for Aus, US and allies

Boeing WGS9 in orbit

American multinational company Boeing launched the ninth Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system into orbit on Sunday. The satellite will provide the US and six allied nations with increased communications capabilities to prevent, protect against and respond to attacks.

The WGS-9 satellite was funded through an agreement between the US and Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and New Zealand. The satellite will also serve Australia, which funded the WGS-6 satellite in 2007 for a 2013 launch.

Each partner country gains access to the capabilities provided by the full WGS system, which include flexible and secure communication transmissions in the X- and Ka-band frequencies.

Boeing's Department of Defense/Civil Satellite Programs executive director Rico Attanasio commended the WGS' capabilities.

"This unique international collaboration increases military interoperability and expands affordable high-data-rate communications for US and allied partners around the globe," said Rico Attanasio.

"WGS-9 is among the most capable military communication satellites on orbit today."

WGS-9 launched on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket. Boeing is on contract for 10 WGS satellites, the last of which is tentatively scheduled for launch in 2018.

The eighth, ninth and 10th WGS satellites include upgraded digital channelizers that nearly double the available bandwidth of earlier satellites in the series.

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