Air Force taps Intelsat for commercial space internet project

The Air Force Research Lab's DEUCSI program will develop and experimentally test satellite communication systems capable of operating with multiple commercial space internet constellations.
(Getty Images)

The Air Force Research Lab has added Intelsat to its list of vendors for the Defense Experimentation Using Commercial Space Internet (DEUCSI) program.

As part of the initiative, AFRL plans to conduct a set of demonstrations that will aim to provide military aircraft with ubiquitous connectivity using commercial spacecraft and networks.

The Pentagon announced the $9 million deal with Intelsat on Wednesday.

“This contract provides for efforts to develop and experimentally test satellite communications (SATCOM) systems capable of operating with multiple commercial space internet constellations operating in low, medium, and geostationary earth orbits offering a new low size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) terminal that easily integrates onto aircraft platforms to provide resilient, high throughput, globally available, and highly reliable SATCOM,” per the announcement.


It was a competitive acquisition and 11 offers were received, according to the department.

The company’s work on the DEUCSI resilient multi-orbit airborne module (ROAM) effort is expected to be completed by Nov. 26, 2024.

Earlier this year, the Air Force awarded an $80 million contract to Northrop Grumman and an $81 million deal to L3Harris for DEUCSI.

The Defense Department previously inked agreements with Raytheon ($13 million), Lockheed Martin ($17 million), Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. ($10 million) and L3 Technologies ($18 million) to work on the program.

A key goal of DEUCSI is to establish “path agnostic communications,” or the ability to “reliably communicate to any location on the globe without explicitly specifying which nodes of a communication network to use,” according to a call for proposals.


The program could aid the Pentagon’s Combined Joint All-Domain Command and Control (CJADC2) initiative, which seeks to connect the various platforms and data streams of the U.S. military services, allies and international partners under a more unified network to enable more effective decision-making.

Jon Harper

Written by Jon Harper

Jon Harper is Managing Editor of DefenseScoop, the Scoop News Group’s online publication focused on the Pentagon and its pursuit of new capabilities. He leads an award-winning team of journalists in providing breaking news and in-depth analysis on military technology and the ways in which it is shaping how the Defense Department operates and modernizes. You can also follow him on X (the social media platform formerly known as Twitter) @Jon_Harper_

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