Competition Afoot to Develop Post-Nuclear Comm System

Global Security Newswire Staff
August 9, 2013

Two major defense corporations are competing to build a series of satellite communications mechanisms that would allow an American president to remain in contact with military commanders even after a nuclear attack, according to

Raytheon was asked last year by the Air Force to compete with Boeing, whose design has faced multiple changes and delays, according to the website. reported that the Raytheon system, based on technology that was developed for the Army and Navy, had cleared a design review in June and is set to be part of a satellite test in October.

In response to requests from the Air Force, Boeing adjusted a number of design features, including adding a system that would allow officials to speak to one another using a series of satellites and terminals. The system is to be based on the ground and installed in airplanes. However, the Air Force reportedly does not want to add the terminals to its bomber aircraft, a move that the GAO warned would cause the system to "not meet its full range of planned communications capabilities."

The bomber fleet has been threatened recently by sequestration cuts, reportedly leaving the Air Force with two options: retire old bombers and sustain funding for new planes or maintain a larger fleet of aging bombers.

The program's costs have gone up 48 percent from the original estimates, partly because of the lengthy delays that the program has faced, according to the website. reported that the Air Force intends for the competition to help control costs and ensure that the system is ready by 2015.