FAB-T programme moves forward
Boeing has revealed that the US Air Force (USAF) has recently completed a combined preliminary design review and critical design review of the company’s Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T). This represents a significant milestone for the programme, and comes after the programme was converted to a firm-fixed-price contract in late April.
According to Boeing, the reviews occurred at the same time the company began internal software deliveries that will enable new capability requirements that were added to the contract earlier this year.
The combined design reviews validated design enhancements to add Presidential and National Voice Conferencing (PNVC), which, when complete, will be a worldwide, survivable, secure satellite-based capability used by the US president, secretary of defence, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other senior US national and military leaders for secure communications. The design reviews also covered engineering changes required to synchronise the terminals with changes on the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellites. Once operational, FAB-T also will relay the commands that control the AEHF and legacy Milstar constellations.
Completion of the combined reviews also cleared the way for the software teams to begin ‘drops,’ or internal software deliveries. The first such drop, which streamlined the FAB-T architecture by removing a number of interfaces that are no longer required, has already been completed. Other drops scheduled for the coming months will continue the satellite-terminal synchronisation process and the addition of PNVC capability.
Boeing is developing nuclear-survivable terminals capable of using multiple waveforms and communicating with both the AEHF and the legacy Milstar satellite constellations for the FAB-T programme. These development terminals will operate in fixed and transportable ground installations and aboard B-2 and B-52 bombers, RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft, and the E-4B National Airborne Command Post and E-6B ‘Take Charge and Move Out’ aircraft fleets.
Boeing vice president and FAB-T programme manager, Paul Geery, said: ‘The combined reviews represent significant progress that we were able to complete one week earlier than required. This achievement indicates we are ready to begin implementation of our design. Boeing's initiative to convert the contract to a fixed-price structure demonstrates our commitment to providing best value and our confidence in our technical solution.’
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