US space command and control (C2) operations will soon begin to incorporate commercial data into space situational awareness (SSA) for the first time. “This summer sometime we’re going to bring on a capability called a non-traditional data pre-processor,” Lt. Gen. David Buck, commander of US Strategic Command’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space and chief of the 14th Air Force, told the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee Friday. The new capability “will begin to allow ingestion of commercial data into our space surveillance network.” Gen. Jay Raymond, commander of Air Force Space Command, said the move is related to a larger strategy “to use commercial companies in a consortium to help us develop those requirements” for next-generation battlefield management C2. “We need all sources of data,” Raymond insisted, “from commercial all the way up to the high-end intelligence data.” He compared the consortium approach to an iPhone where companies build a variety of apps to use on the open-source platform. “We want to have open standards and an open consortium so all players can play-in.” Raymond has enlisted the help of the Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office for the program, he said, “to get it in the National Space Defense Center as quick as we possibly can.”
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.