Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) has been awarded a $738.5 million, seven-year, fixed-price contract with the United States Department of Defense through the U.S. Air Force Space Command (AFSPC) to provide unlimited satellite services from the company's LEO constellation.
Through what is known as the AFSPC’s Enhanced Mobile Satellite Services (EMSS) program, Iridium will continue to deliver access to global secure and unsecure voice, broadcast, netted or Distributed Tactical Communications System (DTCS) and select other services for an unlimited number of DoD and associated DoD-approved subscribers. With an unprecedented seven-year term, the company said this contract serves as a testament to the ongoing value Iridium provides in support of the DoD’s vision for an integrated SATCOM)enterprise and in recognition of the significant investments the company has made into its network over the past several years.
Under the current fixed-price contract, the EMSS program has continuously increased its adoption and utilization of Iridium® services at a significant rate, while the capabilities delivered have also evolved over time from simple telephone voice and data to broadcast, multicast and other Internet of Things (IoT) services. Over the course of the previous contract period, DoD subscribers grew from approximately 51,000 to more than 125,000, a 145 percent increase. This growth in adoption has also resulted in increased collaboration between the government and Iridium’s ecosystem of partners, bringing their expertise to further enhance the capabilities of the DoD’s SATCOM portfolio.
In support of the EMSS program over the past 20 years, Iridium and the DoD have jointly developed an operational environment that provides the critical network transparency and collaboration to enable successful execution of the warfighter’s mission. In fact, Iridium was one of the initial six industry participants in the Commercial Integration Cell (CIC) to engage with the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) Combined Space Operations Center (CSpOC) in an effort to improve information sharing and network situational awareness as the DoD continues its use of commercial satellite networks. This now includes the ongoing transition of EMSS, along with all commercial SATCOM services, from the Defense Information Systems Agency to the USAF.
Scott Scheimreif, EVP of Government Programs, Iridium, said the company's EMSS contract serves as a model for how commercial operators can cost-effectively and efficiently deliver critical satellite managed services to the warfighter. Iridium offers the DoD unrivaled access to its unique, operational, low-earth orbiting network of 66 cross-linked satellites. When you combine Iridium's unique network, the company's ecosystem of dedicated partners and an innovative, fixed-price, seven-year contract, you an optimal environment for DoD and other USG program offices is created to effectively plan for and budget their programs, taking full advantage of the Iridium capability. The program has been a great example of partnership and innovation between industry and the DoD as Iridium continuously explores ways to meet their emerging requirements. When this level of network transparency, collaboration and the ease of acquisition is combined, the result is a significant win for the DoD and their users.
Iridium CEO Matt Desch remarked that the Iridium’s relationship with the U.S. government has been the model of what a public-private partnership should look like in the satellite industry. The U.S. government has made significant investment in Iridium over the years, and likewise, the company has invested billions of dollars to ensure the firm's network remains the premier reliable, mobile satellite service with a proven ability to be deployed anywhere in the world. While this new contract will see continued adoption of Iridium, it will also drive ongoing innovation through collaboration between the U.S. government, Iridium, industry partners and user communities.