Lockheed Martin has submitted its final contract proposal to build Space Fence, an advanced ground-based radar system that will improve the way the U.S. Air Force identifies and tracks orbital objects.
Space Fence will provide much-needed enhanced space situational awareness capabilities for the Air Force and allow the service to decommission the aging U.S.-based Air Force Space Surveillance System, originally installed in 1961.
“The original surveillance system wasn’t designed to detect and track the hundreds of thousands of smaller, orbiting objects that are in space today, potentially threatening the International Space Station, future manned space flight missions and our nation’s critical satellite assets,” said Steve Bruce, vice president for space surveillance systems at Lockheed Martin’s Mission Systems & Sensors business. “With decades of experience developing powerful S-band radar systems, Lockheed Martin has proposed a scalable and affordable Space Fence solution for the Air Force that will transform space situational awareness.”
The Air Force plans to begin construction at its first Space Fence site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the fall of 2013 to meet the program’s 2017 initial operational capability goal. The contract value is estimated at $1.9 billion over a seven-year period of performance.
Using powerful, new ground-based S-band radar technology, Space Fence will enhance the way the U.S. detects, tracks, measures and catalogs orbiting objects and space debris with improved accuracy, better timeliness and increased surveillance coverage. Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin demonstrated its prototype Space Fence radar proving it could already detect resident space objects.
With more than 400 operational S-band arrays deployed worldwide, Lockheed Martin is a leader in S-band radar development, production, operation and sustainment. The Lockheed Martin-led team – which includes General Dynamics, AMEC and AT&T – has decades of collective experience in space-related programs, including sensors, mission processing, cataloging, orbital mechanics, net-centric communications and facilities.