Pick a Number

Air Force leaders would like to satisfy lawmakers questions about the cost of the new Space Radar program, but they can’t—yet. According to Air Force Undersecretary Ronald Sega, there are “a lot of variables right now that prohibit that.” Chief among them is how many satellites the Space Radar constellation will encompass. The two current estimates are either nine or 20. If the system requirements dictate the smaller number, said Sega at a Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing, “the cost is much less.” The number of Space Radars depends on desired sophistication, basically how much combatant commanders want it to do and how many other systems—such as Joint STARS radar aircraft—with which it would interact.