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SBIRS High

-- History --

The SBIRS High program is the culmination of several attempts to develop and deploy a follow-on capability to the highly successful Defense Support Program (DSP). Although it has proven to be a very capable system, DSP was not designed to meet the evolving theater and ballistic missile threats of the 1990s. The SBIRS High component will provide the enhanced capabilities necessary to combat these emerging threats and in turn help meet U.S. infrared space surveillance needs through the next several decades.

-- Concept --

The SBIRS High component program is the first phase of the consolidated, cost-effective, flexible SBIRS “System of Systems” which will provide an enhanced follow-on capability to the current DSP system. The SBIRS High system will perform the four infrared missions of MISSILE WARNING, MISSILE DEFENSE, TECHNICAL INTELLIGENCE AND BATTLESPACE CHARACTERIZATION. More specifically, SBIRS High will provide global and theater infrared data and processed messages concerning launch, flight and impact of strategic and theater missiles and other infrared events to the National Command Authority and the warfighting community.

The SBIRS High component will use state of the art, highly flexible, tasking infrared sensor technology to combat emerging threats. This technology will allow the SBIRS High element to detect and track shorter range missiles with greater accuracy. The benefit to the warfighter will be improved missile launch point and impact point predictions in support of offensive and defensive operations, as well as reduced impact and disruption to the fighting readiness of deployed forces.

The SBIRS High component will feature a mix of four satellites in Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO), two satellites in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO) and ground assets which include the following: a CONUS-based Mission Control Station (MCS), a backup MCS, a survivable MCS; overseas Relay Ground Stations; Relocatable Terminals; and associated communications links. The GEO space vehicle is comprised of a spacecraft bus and a dual mode payload consisting of scanning and staring infrared sensors. The spacecraft bus will be a modern, commercially available spacecraft which is fully militarized to SBIRS requirements. The payload will use a scanning infrared sensor for rapid global coverage and a staring sensor for accurate theater detection and tracking. Sensor schedule and cost risk is minimized through cost-effective commonality of components for both the GEO and HEO sensors.

The SBIRS High Ground Segment architecture integrates assets from the current DSP Ground Segment with SBIRS unique assets to provide a highly capable, cost effective, low risk solution. The ground segment will consolidate three DSP operational sites and associated communication networks into a fully integrated ground segment that fuses all infrared and other data to optimize performance for all infrared missions. The integrated ground segment will be implemented with modern, open systems processing and allow for modular hardware/software updates and appropriate use of commercial products.

The Government’s central theme for the SBIRS High acquisition is securing the “best value” for the entire SBIRS. One aspect of value, affordability, was achieved through Cost as an Independent Variable, where utility was assessed against cost to balance warfighter requirements satisfaction based on budget realities. This was one of the many acquisition reform initiatives implemented by the SBIRS Program Office. Other “best value” reform ideas originating in SBIRS include the Single Acquisition and Management Plan (SAMP), maximal use of Integrated Product Teams and contractor financial commitment to perform within budget and on schedule. A key element to the SBIRS “System of Systems” architecture providing the “best value” to the Government is the concept of giving the contractor Total System Performance Responsibility in order to facilitate cost-effective program development. With the ensuing reductions in Government oversight, active participation by the operators in system definition and innovative cost based requirements analysis are models for other DoD acquisition programs to emulate. The Engineering, Manufacturing and Development contract for SBIRS High was awarded to Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space, Sunnyvale, CA, as the prime contractor on 8 November 1996.

Lockheed Martin’s team members include GenCorp Aerojet and Lockheed Martin Federal Systems to provide satellite control, mission data processing, telemetry/tracking and operations. GenCorp Aerojet and Northrop Grumman will provide the GEO and HEO infrared sensor payloads and Honeywell will provide common computing resources for the spacecraft and payload. The EMD contract value is $1.8 Billion and the estimated life cycle cost through the year 2020 is $10 Billion.

-- Schedule --

The SBIRS consolidated ground segment will be fielded in three increments. The SBIRS High program offers flexibility and affordability while satisfying jointly defined requirements. Use of existing facilities and commercial products will significantly reduces the system’s life cycle cost. The motto for Increment 1 is “on line in ‘99” which calls for DSP ground operations to transition to the new SBIRS mission control facility in FY1999. Before 2002, the second increment of the SBIRS ground operations will occur to accommodate the launching of the first GEO and HEO satellites. The final SBIRS ground increment will occur before 2004 to support the deployment of the SBIRS Low constellation.



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