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Space Based Radar (SBR) History

During the Discoverer II program, a DoD program that ended in 2000, prime contractors and payload suppliers were funded by the United States Government to study the use of radars in space. The planned successor program, SBR, will fund the development and production of an operational radar reconnaissance satellite system.

In response to the FY01 DoD Authorization Conference Report, the National Security Space Architect is led a multi-service, multi-agency effort to develop an SBR Roadmap, to bring together requirements for both the DoD and national users. As part of the Roadmap development, the Air Force was heavily involved in an analysis of alternatives that will allow the DoD leadership to make SBR decisions in concert with decisions being made on other intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

Space-Based Radar is a new major defense acquisition program in 2001 delegated by the Secretary of Defense to the Air Force. The Directorate of Developmental Planning at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA led this joint program with principle participation from Electronic Systems Center in Bedford, MA, the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy. The main objective of the SBR program is to field, beginning in 2008, a space borne capability for theater commanders to track moving targets. The focus in 2002 and 2003 includes requirements development (led by Air Force Space Command), technology risk reduction, concept exploration, and cost feasibility.

The 2001 Multi-Theater Target Tracking Capability (MT3C) Mission Needs Statement (MNS) establishes the requirement for continuous multi-theater surveillance, identification, tracking, and targeting of ground-moving targets. In June 2001, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics (USD(AT&L)) directed an accelerated acquisition program to leverage technology from the cancelled Discoverer II technology demonstration program and provide a capability satisfying the MT3C MNS no later than FY10. The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) Acquisition Memorandum (AM) directive dated 30 November 2001 initiated SBR as an ACAT ID program. As a result, the SBR program was established with the purpose to develop and implement a space-based capability to provide surface Moving Target Indications (MTI), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imaging, and High Resolution Terrain Information (HRTI) mapping to national decision makers and joint/coalition forces deployed worldwide.

The Space Based Radar Program is administered by Air Force Space Command, Space and Missile Systems Center (AFSPC/SMC) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), in coordination with the Services and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency (NIMA).

The SBR Joint Program Office (JPO) at Space and Missile Systems Center will be beginning the process of awarding a concept development contract that will allow development of the system through the Increment 1. The acquisition strategy is to conduct a best value, progressive ompetition / down-selection. The source selection will result in the award of one or possibly two contracts with performance through System Design Review (SDR) plus six months.

In February 2002 Space and Missile Center (SMC), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) announced a Space Based Radar On-Board Processing (OBP) Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) as supplemented and applicable to Program Research and Development Agreement (PRDA) soliciting research proposals from private industry, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations for research. The purpose of this PRDA was to design and demonstrate a prototype OBP Architecture that can meet the tactical user near real time needs of Ground Moving Target Indication (GMTI), Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and Digital Terrain Elevation Data (DTED). The OBP development must be affordable and capable of being transitional to the evolving SBR baseline with a planned Initial Launch Capability (ILC) in 2010. Proposed technology development must be demonstrated in 2004 or 2005 at TRL-5 as a minimum. Proposals to the PRDA shall identify key interface parameters such as data rate, power requirements, word length, speed, storage capacity, buffer requirements, number of ports (channels), redundancy, interchangeability, etc. Processor and Mass Data Storage (MDS) size, weight, power, cost and radiation tolerance are key parameters and will be factors in determining contract award(s). Output data shall be compressed for communications downlink capability. Output data and communications interface capability and parameters shall be proposed. Note that the MDS and downlink capabilities shall also support raw wideband data downlink to CONUS. All OBP algorithms shall be documented as well as all OBP features that would allow on-orbit algorithm modification. For the purpose of this PRDA, the Government considers the OBP to include MDS, Back End Processor (BEP) and interface elements (at the beamformer/pulse compression interface). The BEP shall provide algorithm capability for sub-band combining to create either GMTI detections or SAR image data. OBP system proposed concepts that incorporate a complete FEP (distinct from current payload designs and including A/D, channelizers and beamformer) with a BEP shall provide justification as to how this enhances performance, cost parameters, and the SBR mission. Output data shall be compressed for communications downlink capability, if appropriate. Output data and communications interface capability and parameters shall be proposed. Note that the MDS and downlink capabilities shall also support raw data (post-FEP) downlink to CONUS.

Several significant efforts were underway in 2002. These include the System Concept Analysis task order executed via the Engineering, Analysis, Design and Development (EADDII) contract (awarded in December 2002) the ongoing SBR On-Board-Processor (OBP) and the Electronically Scanned Array (ESA) contracted activities that are planned to continue through 2003. Results of this effort may influence the design of the SBR Concept of Operations, OBP design, ESA design, and system design.

On March 19, 2003 Harris Corporation (NYSE:HRS) announced that it is one of three companies awarded three-year contracts by the U.S. Air Force to develop and demonstrate a prototype radar payload for Space-Based Radar. The initial value of the contract is $8.6 million, with options that could bring it to $88 million over the three-year period of the prototype program. The final payload design, development, production and support program for all SBR spacecraft could reach $1 billion by 2013 for the winning company, which will be selected at the conclusion of the prototype phase. Under terms of the contract with the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) and the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) Joint Program Office, Harris will lead the three-year study of SBR's radar payload. The Harris SBR radar payload concept includes state-of-the-art On-board Processing (OBP) technology and a large Electronically Scanned Array (ESA) that will enable each spacecraft to collect and process large amounts of data and imagery in near real-time.

On 17 September 2003 the Space and Missiles System Center announced plans to release Request for Proposal No. FA8820-04-R-0001 between the 1st and 31st of November 2003 for the Space Based Radar (SBR) Concept Development effort. SBR is an ACAT 1D program currently entering Acquisition Phase A as defined in NSS 03-01.

As of early 2003 the formal RFP was to be issued in October 2003 by the SBR Joint Program Office (JPO) at Space and Missile Systems Center. Proposals were due 45 days later with an anticipated contract award date in March 2004. If one contract was awarded, the contract will be a cost-plus award fee arrangement. If two contracts are awarded, the contract will be a cost-plus fixed fee arrangement. The launch vehicle, launch vehicle integration, spacecraft operations, spacecraft ground station, telemetry and data dissemination, and ground beacons, if required, will be provided. The contractor is expected to provide experiment plans and proposed mission CONOPS, data analysis to verify performance, and command and control software for spacecraft operation. The demonstration will include a partially populated array (mass simulation as required). A one year "on orbit" test, evaluation, and extrapolation is planned, with structural constituent equations and FEM verification to provide a statistically significant beam-pointing and transmit calibration & compensation variances.

At the development milestone of SDR, the Government will request a Call for Improvement (CFI) proposal. This CFI will be used to conduct and evaluate a progressive down-selection intended to identify the single contractor offering the superior (best value) design approach to continue the development and manufacture of the SBR system. It is anticipated that only those contractors participating in the preceding phase will be capable of successfully competing for the next phase contract awards, although other offerors will not be precluded from consideration at the down-selection decision point.

The contractors will be required to submit a priced proposal for the first phase of this effort through SDR plus six months, and evidence of affordability of the total system. This will allow the Government to judge best value through SDR and judge the affordability of the system. While the Government intends to down-select at the System Design Review (SDR), we reserve the right not to, and either extend the parallel development effort to a future down-selection milestone or to proceed with a full and open competition if that approach is determined to be in the Government?s best interest.

On 21 October 2003 Raytheon Company was awarded a $37.4 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to define, analyze, design and demonstrate a Space-Based Radar (SBR) pre-prototype payload consisting of an electronic scanned array and an on-board processing component. The Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., is the contracting agency. The developmental payload will be designed to meet the tactical/national user near real-time data needs for ground moving target indication (GMTI), synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and digital terrain elevation data.

In October 2003 SAIC's Space, Air and Information Group announced a contract award to support the U.S. Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) in the development of the Space-Based Radar (SBR), an important national defense program. Under the terms of the agreement, SAIC will be the lead System Engineering and Integration (SE&I) contractor for this effort. This delivery order contract has a base value of $4.6 million, with the potential of eight option years valued at a total of $139.4 million. For the SBR SE&I program, SAIC will implement and execute systems engineering and integration processes and oversee the delivery of systems engineering products necessary for effective execution of the SBR program and oversight of SBR system developers. SAIC also will lead the integration of the surface, air and space components of the nation's ISR system-of-systems. Members of the SAIC-led team include Lockheed-Martin Corp., headquartered in Bethesda, Md.; ARINC, based in Annapolis, Md.; Veridian Engineering, based in Arlington, Va.; TASC, Inc., based in Chantilly, Va.; and Titan Corp., headquartered in San Diego, Calif.

The FY2004 budget request for the Space Based Radar was $274 million. The FY2004 DOD authorization bill (H.R. 1588/S. 1050) approved the requested funding and directed DOD to assess the contribution SBR could make to missile defense. In the FY2004 DOD appropriations act (P.L. 108-87), Congress cut SBR by $100 million.

SBR was in the initial phase of development, and passed its first Key Decision Point A (KDP-A) to enter Phase A (the Study Phase) in July 2003. The purpose of the Study Phase is to develop concepts and architectures to a sufficient level of maturity to enter the KDP-B Design Phase, expected in FY04. The Study Phase will consist of further concept definition, concept of operations and requirements development, risk reduction, and initial planning to develop a test and evaluation strategy prior to KDP-B. After KDP-B, the program is expected to enter a system pre-acquisition period lasting through a planned KDP-C at the end of FY07, when system acquisition activities will begin.

The 2004 program invested in technology and concept definition activities to include but not limited to up-front, in-depth system engineering, risk reduction activities. Continue Technology Risk Reduction activities on Electronically Scanned Array (ESA) and on-board processing efforts that included end-to-end payload test beds and prototype development of high-risk signal processing algorithms, expanded tactical integration effort that includes interface identification and definition, support an Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) and on-orbit demonstrations. Additional near term efforts include technology risk reduction demonstrations as well as, system-of-systems engineering activities, wargames and experiments, and Modeling & Simulation (M&S) capability, to include access to operational C4ISR systems for enhanced data expoitation.

In April 2004, both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman were awarded $220 Million SBR study contracts. They were selected as phase "A" or concept development prime contractors. Each of them selected several subcontractors to join them as part of their teams. During phase A, each contractor developed concepts for the system which that can best satisfy the government's draft requirements.

Although DOD had taken positive steps to strengthen the involvement of senior leaders within DOD and the intelligence community in setting requirements, as of mid-2004 SBR's concept of operations [CONOPS] had not been approved and signed by requirements boards for either of the two partners. Without documentation and formal approval, it was unclear who will be held accountable for setting requirements or how disagreements among SBR's partners will be resolved when DOD moves SBR into ensuing phases of acquisition.

The U.S. Air Force announced 23 May 2005 that Lockheed Martin had been selected to continue development of the Innovative Space Based Radar Antenna Technology, known as ISAT. The contract, valued at $19.5 million, is for the next phase of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's (DARPA) ISAT project, administrated by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Lockheed Martin will continue development of the ISAT Flight Demonstration Experiment design over the next 14 months, which will take it to the Critical Design Review (CDR) maturity level. Following the CDR, DARPA and the Air Force plan to select a contractor to build and deploy a scale version of the antenna for a one-year proof of technology experiment in low earth orbit.

The FY 2005 Appropriations Bill reduced the President's Budget from $327M to $75M, and redirected the Air Force's development efforts "towards technologies and concepts that would lead to program costs far lower than currently conceived" and "breakthroughs that fundamentally change the cost-benefit equation for a space based radar system."

To address Congressional concerns and to arrive at a technically feasible solution, the Air Force placed increased emphasis on innovation and affordability on the SR concept exploration efforts. This emphasis has resulted in significant changes to the SR program. While continuing to be dual-use to meet Department of Defense (DoD) and IC needs, the SR is focused on smaller constellations of high performance, more affordable satellites. This move to smaller, more affordable constellations was driven by the realization that it is ultimately unaffordable for a single system to provide global continuous target tracking capability. The resulting more affordable system concepts remain highly effective by leveraging advanced technologies and increased levels of horizontal integration with other ISR platforms, national infrastructure and DoD weapon systems.

Air Force and OSD leadership will further address Congressional concerns through an on orbit demonstration that will validate Space Radar costs and technology maturity. The program will also shift focus towards payload maturation, a robust technology risk reduction and system-of-systems engineering program, and a structured revalidation of requirements. In addition, leadership commissioned an Independent Technology Assessment to look at alternative technologies to reduce cost and improve utility.

The 2006 program focused on overall program affordability by stressing innovation through program risk reduction and technology maturation. The program will leverage National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) activities to ensure both DoD and Intelligence Community requirements are satisfied in the baseline SR effort. In addition, an on orbit demonstration will be developed to validate Space Radar costs and technology maturity.

The Air Force leads the SR Joint Program Office (JPO) with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) and National Geospatial- Intelligence Agency (NGA) as the principal partners with other Service, DoD, and Intelligence Community participation. The SR JPO awarded two contracts for Concept Definition and plans to select a single contractor after KDP-B.

As of 2005 Space Radar was intended to provide synthetic aperture radar mapping and surface moving target indication capabilities in all weather conditions. The first operational spacecraft would be launched beginning about 2015, with plans calling for a constellation of nine satellites.

As of 2004 DoD had estimated total life-cycle costs for a nine satellite Space Radar constellation of $34 billion, including the ground segment. The 2006 FYDP and Congressional Budget Office [CBO] long-term projection include $19 billion through 2024 for the space segment of Space Radar. CBO assumed that starting in 2023, the constellation would be reconstituted or possibly increased. The CBO projection used a cost for each Space Radar satellite of $500 million, based on a potential weight of 7,000 pounds at $70,000 per pound.

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:48:28 ZULU