Air Force Ready to Launch Ninth WGS Satellite

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The U.S. Air Force has scheduled another launch to enhance the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) constellation, the nation’s highest-capacity military communications system. The ninth WGS satellite will launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle on March 18 from Space Launch Complex 37B, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch window opens at 7:44 p.m. EDT and will remain open for 75 minutes. 

Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, Space and Missile Systems Center commander and Air Force program executive officer for Space said, “The WGS-9 launch marks a significant occasion for the WGS constellation as it is the fielding of a satellite procured under a partnership with Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and New Zealand providing not only U.S. forces, but also our international partners with enhanced communications capabilities and increased coverage.” In January 2012, these international partners signed a multilateral Memorandum of Understanding with the United States, agreeing to fund the production of the ninth WGS satellite. International partners receive proportional access to the bandwidth provided by the WGS constellation based on financial contribution.

Lt. Col. James Dryburgh, New Zealand deputy director C4 Operations stated, “WGS has provided the cornerstone of the New Zealand Defence Force's Satellite communications capability since the purchase of our first ground terminals following our entrance into the WGS partnership. It has provided us with solid and reliable communications bearer connectivity from the first deployment and the cooperation from the WGS support team and the partner nations has been outstanding.”

Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg Etienne Schneider stated, “As an established satellite nation, Luxembourg is proud to participate in the WGS program. In the current geopolitical context, access to satellite capacity is essential for most military endeavors. Luxembourg can thus make a concrete contribution to security in the context of its NATO commitments.”

Navy Capt. Kim Meier , director Air Force Systems at the Danish Acquisition and Logistics Organization said, “With the successful launch of the ninth WGS satellite we have reached an important milestone in the international MILSATCOM partnership. The WGS satellites are giving our warfighters quick and reliable access to information which is essential to the success of any military operation.”

Brig. Gen. Blaise Frawley, director general Space, Royal Canadian Air Force said, “Military operations are increasingly dependent on capabilities based in space and the Canadian Armed Forces recognizes this fact. The WGS-9 will further enhance a reliable Satcom network, and ensure our forces at home and abroad can communicate effectively to enable success on operations.”

Navy Commodore Ludger Brummelaar, projects director of the Netherlands Defence Materiel Organisation, stated, “The launch of WGS-9 symbolizes the successful partnership in military satellite communication. The cooperation is not only a success in the space segment, but also on the ground, where the participating nations share their anchor stations and other SATCOM resources. WGS enables smaller countries, as the Netherlands, to have access to reliable global satellite communication. It is a prime example of international military cooperation.”

The demand for ever-increasing reliable and secure satellite communications has been at the forefront of the WGS mission. WGS provides communication connectivity across all mission areas, including air, land and naval warfare.  Operated by U.S. Air Force’s 3rd Space Operations Squadron at Schriever Air Force Base, the WGS constellation delivers reliable and secure communications services worldwide 24-hours a day, seven days a week as a vital military asset to the U.S. and allied forces. 

The Air Force is committed to providing capabilities to ensure Combatant Commanders receive the tools they need to effectively communicate and coordinate strategic and tactical operations against any adversary. Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center, located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in El Segundo, California, is the U.S. Air Force's center for acquiring and developing military space systems. Its portfolio includes GPS, military satellite communications, defense meteorological satellites, space launch and range systems, satellite control networks, space-based infrared systems, and space situational awareness capabilities.


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