Flash! DoD confirms my earlier story!
OK, I'll be nice. Pentagon spokesman Chris Isleib sent out a statement today that the "award date is undetermined at this point, but we intend to make the award as soon as possible. We are in discussions with the Joint Staff, and are awaiting requirements changes to key performance parameters from the joint staff/requirements community." A source also confirmed that the Pentagon will take its next steps on the program within 30 days. A senior Pentagon source told me earlier that the Air Force has 30 days to change a key performance parameter so the program can be rejiggered.
One interesting item that I left out of the earlier story is that, in order to ensure it had the maximum flexibility in the face of persistent questions about just what shape T-Sat might take, OSD has required Boeing and Lockheed "to maintain three designs with off ramps so we can build different versions," according to a senior OSD source. That should help limit any cost increases that would usually arise from changing the requirements.
If you want to look at possible losers and winners in this competition, one company -- Lockheed Martin -- will pretty much not lose no matter what happens. Lockheed builds the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite and Congress has already ordered the Pentagon to build an unplanned fourth satellite in light of concern about T-Sat and the decline of Milstar, the constellation of earlier generation of secure communications satellites.
There's been talk that the Pentagon might cancel T-Sat, having determined that data can be provided via updated versions of the AEFH and airborne assets such as the F-35 and ground systems. This seems completely at odds with what senior OSD officials are saying. And I know they went to the mat to get funding for T-Sat put in the Program Objective Memorandum, or, as everyone in the Pentagon calls it -- the POM. (Being married to an Australian, I know this is actually a playfully derisive term used to refer to someone from Britain...)