Boeing FAB-T Satellite Communications Program Completes 1st Flight Tests

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HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif., Sept. 14, 2009 -- Boeing [NYSE: BA] today announced that its Family of Advanced Beyond Line-of-Sight Terminals (FAB-T) program successfully conducted its first series of flight tests. The tests were the first demonstration of FAB-T's network-centric ability to connect satellite, airborne and ground assets in a realistic flight environment.

Boeing is the prime contractor for Increment 1 of FAB-T, which will provide protected beyond line-of-sight communications for the B-2, B-52 and RC-135 aircraft via a system of secure satellites.

During the flight tests, a FAB-T Increment 1 terminal on a Boeing 707 test aircraft connected with a Military Strategic, Tactical and Relay (Milstar) satellite. The U.S. Air Force and Lincoln Laboratories flight test crew communicated with testers on the ground via the satellite, validating the integration of the FAB-T hardware and software.

"Flying FAB-T for the first time is a tremendous milestone for this important capability," said Col. Bill Harding, vice commander of the Military Satellite Communications Wing at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. "When operational, FAB-T Increment 1 terminals will connect strategic ground and air forces like never before."

Flight testing will continue for the rest of the year as the program collects data from a variety of mission scenarios.

"The successful flight tests validate the incremental development approach of the Air Force and Boeing teams," said Ron Mason, director of the 653rd Electronic Systems Wing at the Electronic Systems Center, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. "We will deliver FAB-T terminals that are compatible with satellites on orbit today, as well as those that have yet to launch."

John Lunardi, vice president of Networks and Communication Systems in Boeing's C3 Networks division, described the flight tests as a "culmination of development work done in labs up to this point, and now we’re testing FAB-T's satellite communications where the system is meant to be used: in the sky."

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