Northrop Grumman Corporation reached a significant milestone in the Enhanced Polar System (EPS) Control and Planning Segment (CAPS) program last fall when the U.S. Air Force signed the DD-250, representing formal acceptance of EPS CAPS by the customer.
This milestone marks the completion of a five-year effort to design, develop, test and deliver the EPS CAPS for the Military Satellite Communications Systems Directorate (MILSATCOM) and the beginning of a new effort, valued at $23 million, to extend the company’s support role through December 2018.
«Our commitment to quality and performance underpinned our ability to deliver on a ground system of this complexity and strategic importance», said Kenny Robinson, vice president, strategic force programs, Northrop Grumman. «We worked closely with our customer to meet all acceptance criteria, leading to a high-quality product that meets, and in many cases, exceeds functional, performance and security requirements. We are proud to serve as a mission partner on EPS CAPS and committed to supporting the Air Force as we prepare for initial operating capacity».
The U.S. Air Force’s EPS provides secure, jam-resistant satellite communications coverage to forces in the North Polar Region (above 65 degrees north latitude) in support of national objectives. CAPS is a next-generation ground system that receives telemetry and supplies configuration commands, mission planning and cryptographic planning for the two EPS polar-orbiting payloads.
Completion of the DD-250 milestone required meeting a set of rigorous acceptance criteria. This included complying with the Security Technical Implementation Guide, which is published by the Defense Information Systems Agency to help government and commercial computer networks achieve maximum security.
«Typically, ground systems take between 8-10 years to complete. However, in just under five years, the EPS CAPS team completed a full life-cycle of requirements, design, development, testing and acceptance to complete this effort», added Robinson.
The follow-on support contract started September 2017 and will span 15 months to include operations and maintenance of EPS CAPS during testing of the overall system.
Northrop Grumman was awarded the original contract in November 2012 to develop, build and deliver EPS CAPS. The MILSATCOM directorate at the Air Force’s Space and Missile System Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, California, is acquiring EPS and EPS CAPS.
Primary design, development and testing was performed in Redondo Beach, California, with additional CAPS work performed in Orlando, Florida, and Needham and Marlborough, Massachusetts.