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Northrop Grumman has been awarded an $82 million (€73 million) contract by the US Air Force (USAF) to facilitate military satellite communications in the north polar region (NPR – above 65°N latitude) through its Enhanced Polar System Recapitalization (EPS-R) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) programme, the company announced on 3 July.

Northrop Grumman provides all three major components of the EPS-R CAPS programme. EPS provides secure, jam-resistant satellite communications coverage to forces in the NPR in support of national objectives. CAPS is a next-generation ground system that receives telemetry and supplies configuration commands, mission planning and cryptographic planning for the EPS and EPS-R polar-orbiting payloads. Northrop Grumman successfully developed, built and delivered the EPS CAPS for the USAF Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM) under a previous contract.

The new award includes the development of software for EPS-R CAPS, taking the programme from requirements analysis to test and delivery. The contract also addresses international host accommodations provided by Space Norway for new out-of-band link functions, cyber architecture, orbit planning and the capability for controlling two additional EPS-R payloads on a single software baseline, in addition to the two existing payloads. Work is expected to be completed by September 2023.

“Northrop Grumman is committed to delivering the critical ground segment technologies that support the important mission of US Air Force Space and Missile Command," commented the company’s Vice President, Strategic Force Programs, Rob Fleming. “We demonstrate through this contract and in close collaboration with Space and Missile Command that existing ground design and software can be successfully modified to support new and advancing mission requirements, an important strategic priority for our customer.”

US forces in the polar regions face environmental challenges – sometimes potentially dangerous ones! (Photo via Northrop Grumman)

- Mönch Publications - Latest Issues -

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