Raytheon Co. has received a US Navy contract for the first phase of a two-phase process to develop the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) Multi-band Terminal (NMT), the Navy's most advanced satellite communication (SATCOM) system. The company's initial funding increment is $3.1 M; the program's total value is expected to be $1.6 B.

NMT's first phase launches with a 30-month development period, during which Raytheon will build AEHF SATCOM system prototypes. Raytheon will then test their prototypes against competition in a simulated "fly-off" to determine final production award for the NMT system. More than 300 NMT systems are scheduled for production through 2010. NMT will address three US Navy requirements — expansion of bandwidth availability, reduction of "top side real estate" and support to network-centric operation via FORCEnet. The use of multi-band terminals is designed to meet all three. NMT will replace several existing SATCOM communication terminals and antennas. Additional benefits to the Navy include increased ship stealth through decreased ship signature, or "footprint." The reduction of numbers of terminals and antennas will further serve to reduce life cycle costs. NMT and its associated AEHF satellite constellation will offer four times more protected bandwidth and throughput than current systems can deliver. This improvement will allow naval commanders to "pull" more critical data from the war fighter information grid and "push" exponentially more data into the grid, than can be done today. NMT's heightened ability to move information will help sailors to become full participants in FORCEnet.

Rockwell Collins Government Systems (RCGS) is Raytheon's NMT teammate. RCGS will lead the security certification process and provide essential hardware. FORCEnet is an operational construct and informational architecture that integrates warriors, sensors, networks, command and control, platforms and weapons into a network-distributed combat force. It allows war fighters to compose joint military engagement packs of combined forces to participate in military actions and responses "on the fly." In addition to the immediacy of its response, it is also scalable across the entire spectrum of conflict, from seabed to space and from sea to land. Additionally, FORCEnet will enable rapid reconfiguration of joint forces to respond to the next tasking in a composed manner.