Air Force program to host a staring infrared sensor on a commercial satellite moves forward with recent industry RFI

Posted by John Keller

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., 11 Aug. 2013. U.S. Air Force space surveillance experts are moving closer to releasing an formal solicitation for a much-delayed major project to develop a staring overhead surveillance infrared sensor payload for a commercial satellite.

Officials of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif., are gathering information on companies and capabilities in preparation for releasing a request for proposal (RFP) for the Wide Field of View (WFOV) Hosted Payload (HP) project.

Officials of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center's Development Planning Directorate issued a request for information this past week (RFI 13-99) for the WFOV HP project as part of acquisition planning and market research prior to issuing an RFP, which is scheduled for March 2014.

The WFOV HP project seeks to develop a staring overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) nine-degree wide-field-of-view sensor payload to be hosted on a yet-to-be-determined commercial communication satellite.

The project's RFI is trying to determine if the infrared sensor payload could be delivered within cost and schedule targets. Air Force officials want the sensor finished and ready to install on a satellite by March 2018 at a cost of no more than $42 million.

The Air Force conducted industry briefings on the WFOV HP project last spring. The project is part of the Space and Missile Systems Center's Space-Based Infrared Systems Directorate Space Modernization Initiative (SMI).

In late 2011 the Air Force issued a pre-solicitation notice to identify qualified infrared payload providers for a future WFOV payload procurement. Despite delays, this RFI is a continuation of that pre-solicitation.

Air Force officials are asking for statements of capability from companies interested in participating in the WFOV HP project no later than 19 Aug. 2013 -- less than two weeks away.

Statements should include previous program experience; technical expertise; integration and test facilities; mission assurance and risk management; corporate organization; opinions on the WFOV HP project’s cost, schedule, and technical requirements; and a summary of necessary hardware, software, and manufacturing readiness.

For questions, concerns, or to request the classified appendix for the WFOV HP project email the Air Force's Capt. Ross Weaver at ross.weaver@us.af.mil, or Tiffany Trotter at tiffany.trotter@us.af.mil.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/USAF/AFSC/SMCSMSC/13-99/listing.html.

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