Still Alive?

By Jason Simpson / October 20, 2008 at 5:00 AM

You may have seen a report today suggesting the Defense Department has decided to terminate the current competition for the Air Force's next-generation communications satellite constellation.

According to an Office of the Secretary of Defense spokesman, it's not accurate.

“We have seen the news reports about TSAT ((the Transformational Satellite Communications System)); however, as of right now, no final decision has been made on program status,” OSD spokesman Chris Isleib said in an e-mail today. “The department is still reviewing the requirements associated with the TSAT program, but DOD remains committed to fielding a TSAT solution by ((fiscal year 2019)).”

The report, citing an industry source, stated the Pentagon's Deputy's Advisory Working Group decided to put off awarding the contract until the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010.

In September, Inside the Air Force reported that Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England was briefed on a study related to the investment strategy of TSAT in June. At that time, Air Force officials said a contract award was expected no earlier than Dec. 15.

England was briefed on the study at a DAWG meeting on June 10. England is the group's chairman.

The service originally anticipated an award date in May, but made the announcement contingent on the investment strategy study's findings. The Air Force has awarded the two companies vying for the multibillion-dollar contract award, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, three 180-day extensions to risk-reduction contracts since August 2007 in the midst of the production contract delays.

Both companies said in statements they were not notified of any recent action OSD or the Air Force were taking in regards to changing the competition structure of the program.

More to come, and we're checking into all of it.