Australia Eyed as Space Fence Partner

The Air Force seeks to establish a ground-based radar site in Australia as part of the future Space Fence space-surveillance network and jointly operate the site there with the Australians, said Maj. Gen. John Hyten, director of space programs in the Air Force’s acquisition shop. The Space Fence will comprise “two ground-based radar sites” that provide “timely information on launch detection, maneuvers, and breakups to support protection of space assets,” Hyten told the Senate Armed Services Committee strategic forces panel last week. The S-band fence will replace the 1960s-era VHF-based Air Force Space Surveillance System, the terrestrial network that currently monitors space objects. The latter is “rapidly becoming unsustainable,” said Hyten. The Space Fence is slated to begin operations in 2015. The Air Force in January awarded contracts to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for preliminary design work on their respective fence concepts. (Hyten’s prepared remarks)