The Air Force is investigating the applicability of an existing radar system as a potential replacement to the current AN/APQ-166 radar used on its force of 76 B-52H bombers. In a request for information to industry posted at the Federal Business Opportunities Web site in November, the service said the APQ-166—a mechanically scanned array system fielded in the 1950s and last upgraded in the early 1980s—is “approaching the end of its useful life.” Forecasts are that the radar “will become unsupportable beginning in the 2016 timeframe,” states the RFI. The Air Force is therefore interested in a replacement system that would be available for initial delivery in Fiscal 2016. It must have a “minimum lifecycle through the 2040 timeframe,” according to the solicitation.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.