Advancing the Alternative SBIRS?

The Air Force has given contracts to two companies to further a decision on whether the service should pursue the Alternative Infrared Satellite System, which could serve as a replacement or alter ego for the increasingly expensive and technically challenged Space Based Infrared System satellite. General Dynamics has received $23.4 million and Northrop Grumman $24.8 million to perform system definition and develop technical requirements documents for various subsystems. Each is to complete its work by May 2008, when USAF must decide whether to pursue SBIRS or go with AIRSS.