[Satnews] Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ:IRDM) announces a contract award from global aerospace and defense company General Dynamics, to provide its newest satellite handset, the Iridium Extreme® 9575, redesigned exclusively for government use. This new version is lighter, tougher, offers more features and is less expensive for the US Department of Defense (DoD).
As a major provider of Iridium® satellite solutions and products, General Dynamics delivers global satellite communications services to the US and foreign governments. Their distribution network, combined with the Iridium satellite network, brings a strong partnership to the industry enabling life-saving communications products, and delivering vital information to the US Government and the DoD.
"We are excited to work with General Dynamics in bringing a new secure mobile satellite handset to market," said Scott Scheimreif, executive vice president of government solutions at Iridium. "This upgraded version of the Iridium Extreme will continue to allow the US soldier, airman and marine the ability to communicate securely through a device with a smaller, lighter form-factor—wherever their mission may take them, anywhere on the planet. In addition, they can now take advantage of improved technology and new capabilities, like location-based services, to help provide improved situational awareness across the battlefield. The US Government is a very important customer, and we think this new device will provide mission-critical communications to the DoD and its partners for many years to come."
The Iridium network, a global constellation of 66 low-Earth orbit satellites, enables the only government-approved satellite handset for provision on the dedicated DoD Gateway. Iridium remains the only provider of an NSA accredited Type-1 mobile satellite phone in use today. The Iridium Extreme provides proven reliability and industrial-grade design to perform in the toughest of environments—essential for communications needs in combat zones. The Iridium Extreme will replace the Iridium 9505A handset, in operation extensively around the world by the USG for over 15 years.
In 2013, Iridium was awarded a $400 million multi-year fixed-priced contract with the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) to provide satellite airtime services that meet the communications needs of the DoD and their federal partners. The five-year contract renewed the provision for delivering Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) airtime. Iridium provides unlimited global secure and unsecure voice, low and high-speed data, paging and Distributed Tactical Communications Systems (DTCS) services for an unlimited number of DoD and other federal government subscribers.