DigitalGlobe upgrading images for Air Force

LONGMONT – Fighter pilots and emergency responders will be able to get better pictures of areas where they’re working after satellite-image company DigitalGlobe Inc. upgrade U.S. Air Force mobile ground stations.

Specific financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed between Longmont-based DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI) and the U.S. Air Force, but the contract with the Air Force is part of DigitalGlobe’s up to $2.8 billion, 10-year EnhancedView service-level agreement contract between the company and the U.S. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, according to a press statement.

“We are very committed to getting geospatial intelligence into the hands of those who need it,´ said Jeff Kerridge, senior vice president and general manager of DigitalGlobe’s defense and intelligence business, in the press statement. “This agreement brings our imagery even closer to the warfighters and first responders on the ground.”

The Air Force ground stations will be able to download satellite images within minutes after they are collected, according to the press statement. Since 1994, such images have been used to support U.S. combat operations in Iraq and other conflict areas as well as to help aid natural-disaster relief and humanitarian efforts in the United States and around the world, according to the press statement.

The first upgraded terminal is expected to be operational by the middle of 2013, according to the press statement.

DigitalGlobe reported $107 million in revenue in the most recent quarter, up from $81.9 million in the same quarter of 2011. Its net income was $8.5 million, or 18 cents per share, up from net income of $1.1 million, or 2 cents per share, last year.

The company plans to close on its self-described “combination” with rival satellite image provider GeoEye Inc. in the first quarter of 2013. GeoEye (Nasdaq: GEOY) is based in Herndon, Virginia. DigitalGlobe is taking over GeoEye, and will keep its name and executive team. DigitalGlobe shareholders will control 64 percent of the combined company. The deal is worth about $900 million.

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