WASHINGTON — The Pentagon is rethinking the way it purchases wideband satellite communications and is looking to industry for ideas, department officials said Thursday.

As part of a Wideband Communications Services (WCS) Analysis of Alternatives (AOA) study, the department will issue a request for information seeking out details on the latest satellite technologies, as well as what is in the art of the possible, said Air Force Col. George Nagy, who is helping lead the AOA effort and is part of the Principal DoD Space Advisor Staff.

“We know that the pace of commercial satcom development has been very rapid in the last several years, and the purpose of the RFI is to make sure that we’ve captured — particularly from a technology standpoint — those particular enabling technologies that should be considered in whatever vein for the wideband enterprise,” he told reporters Thursday.

Nagy said the RFI would be issued “shortly” by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center.

The military currently relies on the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS) system for much of its communications needs, but also contracts with commercial satellite companies for services to help meet its demands. The newest satellite, WGS-9, was launched on March 18, but the department is already thinking ahead to its future constellation.

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