The Space Force is conducting market research to determine the best means of transitioning legacy missile warning and tracking satellites to the next generation of command-and-control systems, according to a request for information posted by Space Systems Command yesterday.
The current Space Based Infrared System constellation, whose final satellite launched last week, is slated to be replaced by Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites that will provide better detection capabilities for emerging threats like hypersonics. The first Next Gen OPIR satellite is scheduled to launch in 2025.
In the meantime, SSC is researching strategies to migrate the SBIRS satellites to a new ground-based, command-and-control system that will eventually extend to Next Gen OPIR as well, the RFI says.
Research is underway for that modernized command-and-control system, known as Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution. That work will continue through at least fiscal year 2027, according to the Space Force’s FY-23 research, development, test and evaluation budget justification documents, which state that the estimated total cost of the FORGE rapid prototyping middle tier acquisition effort is $2.8 billion.
Besides the C2 segment, FORGE consists of three other initiatives: mission data processing, relay ground stations and FORGE Next Gen transition, which plans to integrate future OPIR systems with FORGE and the Enterprise Ground Services. EGS is a separate program that seeks to develop a common enterprise ground architecture for all Space Force satellites, the budget documents indicate.
According to the RFI, market research for the SBIRS migration solution is intended to inform the acquisition strategy for FORGE, reduce schedule integration risks and increase the potential pool of vendors. The posting says the solution must have the following six attributes:
The RFI states the desired delivery date for the C2 transition is in 2026 and that the deadline for a response is August 31.