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Canada joins U.S. in global Satcom project

Jan. 20, 2012, Ottawa - Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Luxembourg and the Netherlands will contribute $620 million towards the ninth satellite in a new US military communications system costing about $1 billion.


January 20, 2012
By Carey Fredericks

Canada has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to join the $10 billion Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) project by contributing $337.3 million. The contribution will go towards building the ninth of ten satellites that will provide secure communications for Canadian forces over the next 20 years.

Canada National Defence associate minister Julian Fantino said that Canada was pleased to participate in an international partnership that is critical to the success of future Canadian forces missions. New Zealand has contributed $83.2 million to the project, which will improve communications between New Zealand and troops deployed overseas.

The deal will provide each country with access to critical wideband satellite services that carry large bandwidth and high data-rate communications for defence forces around the globe at a rate corresponding to their level of contribution. Under the WGS program ten satellites are scheduled to be placed in orbit by 2017; the first satellite was sent into orbit ten years ago.

Three satellites have already been sent into orbit, with a fourth scheduled to be launched this week, while a fifth launch is planned for next year. The U.S. government has already invested about $4.9 billion in the three satellites, $1.3 billion more than was originally earmarked for six satellites. Last week Boeing won a $377 million contract to continue work on the constellation of Wideband Global Satcom (WGS) satellites.

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The contract is an option of the previously signed agreement to produce, process, launch and activate a ninth WGS satellite.