The Air Force has awarded ATK Mission Research of Santa Barbara, Calif., a $26.1 million contract to establish a space threat assessment testbed at the Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee. This ground test capability is slated to be completed and functional in early 2013. “STAT will create a realistic space environment to perform developmental and early operational testing of space hardware for the Department of Defense, the National Reconnaissance Office, and other agencies against man-made threats and naturally occurring environmental phenomena,” said Col. Art Huber, AEDC commander. STAT will also lay the foundation for near real-time connectivity to a satellite operations center, enabling integrated system testing, training, tactics, techniques, and procedures development, said Lance Baxter, the project’s technical director. “It is a significant step towards the development of an important new national capability,” he said. The contract was awarded Oct. 22. (Includes AEDC report by Philip Lorenz III)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.