Lockheed Martin and Raytheon each have won a $107 million contract for the next phase of the Air Force’s Space Fence program, the Defense Department announced Wednesday. Under the contracts, each company’s team will provide a preliminary design of the Space Fence during a period of performance that USAF officials have previously stated would be about 18 months. The Space Fence is a notional network of S-band ground-based radars for detecting and tracking orbiting space objects, including those smaller in size than current sensors track. Slated to begin operations in 2015, the fence would replace the 1960s-era VHF-based Air Force Space Surveillance System and be an integral component of the nation’s space situational awareness network. The preliminary design work is expected to pave the way for a subsequent production contract with one vendor to supply the fence. (DOD list of major contracts for Jan. 26)
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.