Defense

Air Force kicks off buy for new nuclear command-and-control terminals

Air Force satellite dishes at Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska.

Air Force satellite dishes at Kodiak Launch Complex in Alaska. // United States Air Force

The Air Force Materiel Command on Tuesday launched a procurement for new satellite terminals for the global command-and-control system that provides for management of nuclear forces by the president.

The Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal has been in the works since June 2011 and is designed to transmit and receive emergency action messages to strategic bomber, tanker and reconnaissance air crews.

The new terminals, the Air Force said, should be capable of receiving signals from the five satellites in the MILSTAR constellation launched between 1994 and 2003 and the newer Advanced Extremely High-Frequency satellite system. Two AEHF satellites currently are in orbit and the Pentagon plans to launch a total of five.

The new nuclear command-and-control terminals will be installed at 50 fixed sites including fixed nuclear command-and-control facilities (wing command posts, nuclear task forces, and munitions support squadrons) and forward deployed nuclear command-and-control mobile support teams. The Air Force plans to buy 48 transportable terminals.

The new terminals will replace fixed/mobile site single channel anti-jamming portable terminals developed in the mid-1990s by Rockwell Collins.

In its 2013 budget, the Air Force requested $196 million for the Global Aircrew Strategic Network Terminal from 2013 through 2017.

Bids are due Jan. 18, 2013.

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