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As the backbone of the U.S. military’s global satellite communications, WGS provides flexible, high-capacity communications for the Nation’s warfighters through procurement and operation of the satellite constellation and the associated control systems. WGS provides worldwide flexible, high data rate and long haul communications for marines, soldiers, sailors, airmen, the White House Communication Agency, the US State Department, international partners, and other special users.
The WGS system is a constellation of highly capable military communications satellites that leverage cost-effective methods and technological advances in the communications satellite industry. The WGS system is composed of three principal segments: Space Segment (satellites), Control Segment (operators) and Terminal Segment (users). WGS Space Vehicles (SVs) are the Department of Defense’s highest capacity communications satellites. Each WGS satellite provides service in both the X and Ka frequency bands, with the unprecedented ability to cross-band between the two frequencies onboard the satellite. WGS augments the one-way Global Broadcast Service (GBS) service through new two-way Ka-band service.
Each WGS satellite is digitally channelized and transponded. These characteristics provide a quantum leap in communications capacity, connectivity and flexibility for U.S. military forces and international partners while seamlessly integrating with current and future X- and Ka-band terminals. Just one WGS satellite provides more SATCOM capacity than the entire legacy Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS) constellation.
WGS provides essential communications services, allowing Combatant Commanders to exert command and control of their tactical forces, from peace time to military operations. Tactical forces will rely on WGS to provide high-capacity connectivity to the Defense Information Systems Network (DISN).
International partners participating on the WGS program are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Luxembourg, The Netherlands and New Zealand.
The on-orbit WGS constellation is comprised of six satellites in geosynchronous orbit. The first WGS satellite was launched in October 2007. There are three Block I satellites (launched in October 2007, April 2009, December 2009) and three WGS Block II satellites (launched in January 2012, May 2013, and August 2013).
Part of the Space and Missile Systems Center’s MILSATCOM Directorate, the Wideband MILSATCOM Division is responsible for development, acquisition, fielding and sustainment of the WGS Program. Four Block II follow-on satellites are anticipated for launch between FY15 and FY 18. WGS satellites are launched either via the Delta IV or the Atlas V Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle.
Primary function: high-capacity military communications satellite
Primary contractor: Boeing Defense, Space and Security
Payload: transponded, cross-banded-X and Ka-band communications suite
Antennas: electrically steerable, phased array X-band transmit and receive; mechanically steered Ka-band; and fixed Earth-coverage X-band
Capability: 39 125-MHz Channels via digital channelizer/router, 2.1 Gbps capacity
WGS-1: Oct. 10, 2007
WGS-2: April 4, 2009
WGS-3: Dec. 5, 2009
WGS-4: Jan. 19, 2012
WGS-5: May 23, 2013
WGS-6: Aug. 7, 2013
WGS- 10: TBD
(Current as of November 2015)
Point of Contact: Air Force Space Command Public Affairs Office; 150 Vandenberg St., Suite 1105; Peterson AFB, Colo., 80914-4500; DSN 692-3731 or (719) 554-3731.