A Delta IV rocket is slated to carry the Air Force’s newest communications satellite, WGS-3, into orbit on Wednesday from Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., said officials with the installation’s 45th Space Wing in a release. WGS-3 is the third in the series of Wideband Global Satellite Communications satellites that the Air Force is procuring to augment and eventually replace the legacy Defense Satellite Communications System constellation. Each WGS spacecraft provides a giant leap in communications bandwidth over DSCS satellites. WGS-3 will reside in orbit over the eastern Atlantic Ocean, joining WGS-1 that sits above the Pacific Ocean, and WGS-2, which supporters warfighters in Afghanistan and Iraq from its perch high above the Indian Ocean.
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.