U.S. Adds Partners to Communications Satellites

January 17, 2012

Canada and four other countries will contribute $620 million toward the $1 billion cost of building and operating a ninth satellite in a new U.S. military communications system, a move that will improve cooperation among those countries and save money at a time when defense budgets are shrinking.

U.S. officials also said on Tuesday they would negotiate with Boeing this year about work on a tenth satellite approved by Congress in the fiscal 2012 defense appropriations bill; the company, the prime contractor on the $10 billion satellite program, last week won a $377 million contract to build the satellite.

The United States, Canada, New Zealand, Denmark, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands had signed a 20-year memorandum of understanding cementing the partnership for the satellite system on January 12, building on an existing bilateral agreement with Australia on the Wideband Global Satellite Communications (WGS) program signed in 2007. 

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