Keeping an Eye on SBIRS

The Senate Armed Services Committee has authorized the Air Force to procure two new Space Based Infrared System early warning satellites in Fiscal 2013 under a fixed-priced contract for a total cost of $3.9 billion, according to the report accompanying the Senate’s version of next fiscal year’s defense policy bill. The two satellites would be the fifth and sixth SBIRS geosynchronous satellites—GEO-5 and GEO-6—that Lockheed Martin builds. The committee also permitted the Air Force to incrementally fund the contract over six years and use “prior-year funds for advance procurement” of GEO-6, states the report. In return, though, the committee expects the Air Force to save “no less than 20 percent” over the life of the contract, according to the report, issued the first week of June. In addition, committee members instructed the Air Force Secretary to submit a report to Congress 30 days after the contract is signed that outlines the contract’s specifics, states the report. A second report that details the cost savings is required after 90 days. (SASC report; caution, large-sized file.)