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)
Three B-1B Lancers from the 7th Bomb Wing flew over the Indo-Pacific alongside F-16s from the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force as part of a joint large force exercise. The mission began and ended in the continental U.S. The bombers flew 31 hours and landed Jan. 11.