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News > ESC working to improve communications for ICBM nuclear execution forces
ESC working to improve communications for ICBM nuclear execution forces

Posted 1/13/2012   Updated 1/13/2012 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

1/13/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- The Electronic Systems Center recently awarded a $9.4 million contract to Raytheon Co., Marlborough, Mass., to upgrade the strategic satellite communications terminal supporting the Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) launch control centers (LCC).

This is part of the Minuteman Minimum Essential Emergency Communications Network Program Upgrade (MMPU), which provides 24-hour, seven-days-a-week secure and survivable communication links for Emergency Action Message receipt for command and control of strategic nuclear forces. MMPU will modify the existing 46 terminals at the Minuteman III ICBM sites as well as required test facility locations.

"By awarding this contract, we will provide improved satellite communications for the Minuteman ICBM launch control centers by enabling them to communicate with the new AEHF [Advanced Extremely High Frequency] satellites," said John Gould, MMPU program manager. "This ensures the continued connectivity for EAM messages and allows for faster delivery."

According to Gould, MMPU provides four specific improvements to strategic communications of the ICBM nuclear execution forces.

First, the MMPU terminals will allow the ICBM LCCs to communicate with the new AEHF constellation satellites that just became operational in 2012.

Secondly, it will allow the terminal operators better control of communication services, including the ability to change communication parameters more efficiently.

"This will provide the users greater mission flexibility," said Gould. "They will be able to have more control of the capabilities."

A third feature is that the upgrade will also improve upon the existing security architecture and, lastly, provides the ability for connection to additional networks for planned future expansion.

"Although there were many challenges with getting the program through the integration and test phases, along with achieving all the required certifications, we were given approval for Milestone C and to enter production by the PEO [program executive office] on December 27, 2011," said Gould.

Initial fielding of the terminals will begin in 2013 and continue through 2014. All terminals are expected to be completed and fielded by the spring of 2015.

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