Air Force team will be having a fast prototyping test for the development of latest ground control as well as data processing software for Space-Based Infrared System. 

Lt. Gen. John Thompson, commander of Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center stated, “Instead of automatically defaulting to very large exquisite programs of record, we want to do more prototyping and experimentation.”

SMC is currently in the center of broad Air Force effort to advance technology to the battlefield. A substantial review will be conducted to completely reorganize the center that oversees $6 billion a year in space procurements. The SMC will try to accelerate projects with the help of space industry consortium that comes with a $100 million budget. It was aimed to begin prototyping technologies including ground control software as well as small satellites. 

Last week’s conference in Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Thompson emphasized that about 85 percent of SMC dollars go to four very huge program offices. But, this can be changed when the Air Force moves to update constellations and data analysis capabilities. 

The consortium utilizes simpler contracting rules compared to traditional programs. The “other transactions authorities or the OTA are now promoted, to convince more vendors. Thompson stated that “OTA is an opportunity to reach out to non-traditional firms.” “Congress has been fantastic in giving us OTA authorities. They help us with experimentation and prototyping. “, he added. 

Air Force will utilize OTA contracting for the development of latest ground-control and data processing software to enhance the Space Based Infrared missile warning system. The project is named Forge which stands for Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution. In the consortium, the Air Force will look for proposals for Forge mission data processing and software applications. 

Bob Canty, the vice president for business development at Raytheon Intelligence, Information and Services stated that “The Forge program will support the existing SBIRS constellation and it will be extended to the future system. The Air Force decided in the 2019 budget to stop buying SBIRS satellites and start transitioning to a new constellation that would be more resilient. “

SMC plans will continue to utilize Space Enterprise Consortium for future projects. As of April 2018, SpEC has already 143 members wherein the 101 are non-traditional defense contractors. According to SMC spokesman, the consortium will provide an acquisition vehicle for the development of space-related prototype projects. It includes different aspects of launch vehicles, spacecraft and ground systems.