Boeing showed off the ability of the TSAT (transformational satellite) communications spacecraft to work well with other transformational systems to military program officials and representatives from the Air Force and US Strategic Command. The demo worked through simulated “blockages due to rough terrain, loss of terminals in the network, and fully loaded capacity utilization,” stated a company release. Michael Gianelli, VP of navigation and communications systems, says, “With each review session, we’re pushing the technology maturity and functional operation envelope.” One reason the Air Force said it would revamp the TSAT program into an incremental “fighter block” approach was the technology maturity issue. Some lawmakers are still not convinced TSAT has turned the corner.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.