Air Force Undersecretary Sega describes the new “fighter block” plan for the Transformational Satellite as a series of confidence-building steps. He told lawmakers last week, that the Air Force recognized that there were some parts of the program that were “a bit behind” as far as being technologically mature while others were “doing well.” The service consulted war fighters, he said, to determine what they needed when and that led to pushing some technologies, such as the “higher-end laser capabilities as well as the advanced processor router,” out to later blocks. The initial blocks will have a router and laser comm, just not “at the sophistication as was originally envisioned,” said Sega. The Air Force plans a number of demonstrations over the next 12 months to test the Block 1 technologies. Sega, who also serves as the DOD executive agent for space, says that TSAT overall system design review should take place in April 2007. If the technology proves out, he said, there should be a request for proposals on the space segment in May 2007.
While some of the Air Force's newly announced changes will happen quickly, it may take most of Chief of Staff Gen. David W. Allvin's tenure in the job to accomplish the rest, he said in a Brookings Institution event Feb. 28.