US-based Iridium Communications has won a $54m contract from the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA) of the Department of Defense (DoD) to support the Enhanced Mobile Satellite Service (EMSS) gateway for four and a half years.

The Gateway Maintenance and Support Service (GMSS) contract is intended to ensure that the ground site continues to operate at peak efficiency for US DoD missions.

Serving as an uplink and downlink point for the EMSS communications capabilities through the Iridium network, the Iridium gateway offers improved capabilities enabled by the company’s upgraded satellite constellation, which became operational in February.

Iridium executive vice-president of government programmes Scott Scheimreif said: “This new contract provides the mechanism for Iridium to help ensure the DoD gateway is able to fully support the new capabilities and services needed to meet the emerging requirements of the warfighter.

“It is yet another example of the strategic, long-term relationship between Iridium and the US Department of Defense.

“Between 2013 and 2018, subscribers under the Iridium EMSS programme run by DISA have more than doubled to 113,000, showing a compound annual growth rate of 17.25%.”

“We remain committed to the US DoD and the warfighter as we explore new ways for addressing critical requirements leveraging our unique satellite network.”

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In October 2013, Iridium won a GMSS contract for the previous iteration for a five-year term with an option for a six-month extension.

Between 2013 and 2018, subscribers under the Iridium EMSS programme run by DISA have more than doubled to 113,000, showing a compound annual growth rate of 17.25%.

The growth is attributed to the flat-rate contract programme, which provides unlimited voice and data services to US troops and other government participants.

Iridium is a global mobile voice and data satellite communications network that, along with its partner companies, provides a range of solutions for markets that require global communications.

Recently, the company completed the next-generation satellite network and launched a specialised broadband service called Iridium CertusSM.