Comtech Telecommunications Corp. won two contracts with the U.S. military that may collectively be worth up to $590 million, according to the Melville-based firm, which provides next generation 911 services and satellite and terrestrial communication technology.
Under the first contract, valued at $48.6 million, Comtech will design "multi-carrier" modems for the U.S. Army. These will allow military personnel to connect with several different satellite networks at once.
This means troops could use lower orbital systems — which transmit information faster — for one task, while relying on satellites orbiting at higher altitudes for functions that demand more system capacity, president and CEO Ken Peterman said.
He said the modems would make troop communication more reliable and secure.
"They can take a single message and parse it over multiple networks, so that it improves security, and then reassemble the message at the other end," Peterman said. "If an adversary disrupts one of those satellite networks … we can use the other networks that we're connected to."
After development, the new modems will be tested to make sure they can withstand extreme conditions. The Army may then issue a second production contract and begin replacing thousands of existing modems with the new multi-carrier model, Peterman said.
Comtech received a second contract — with a maximum value of $544 million — to station civilian technology specialists alongside deployed troops and ensure the terrestrial and satellite networks they rely on are functioning, the firm said. The five-year contract will require Comtech to hire several hundred employees, Peterman said. Given that they will be stationed across the globe, the impact is unlikely to be felt on Long Island.
Comtech employs between 1,500 and 2,500 people, depending on its contracts. About 50 workers are based out of its Melville headquarters, and another 100 to 200 are stationed at an electronics, transmitters and receivers facility on the Island, Peterman said.
Since Peterman took the helm last August, Comtech has integrated 14 previously siloed businesses into two segments: one focused on terrestrial and wireless technology, the other on satellite and space technology. This has helped the company trim expenses and more holistically serve customers, Peterman said.
"We completely restructured and transformed our businesses, and in many ways, that's what's igniting and enabling the capture of these contracts and the growth that we're seeing," he said.
Peterman was named CEO following a 2021 proxy fight between the company and activist investor Outerbridge Capital Management, a Manhattan investment firm.