Spectrum Reallocation: Shifting Frequencies for USAF F-15 Training
With the explosion in the number of cell phones and other commercial wireless devices, the US Federal Communications Commission has had to take spectrum used by US government agencies and shift it over to commercial use.
To fund this spectrum transition, the US Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2004 the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act, which provided over $1 billion to federal agencies to pay for the shift.
The largest US government user of spectrum is the Department of Defense. So DoD got the largest chuck of that money – $355.4 million.
From that pool, the USAF recently awarded Raytheon a $37.9M delivery order to modify weapons data link equipment used for F-15 pilot training…
GBU-15/AGM-130 Data Links
Under the original $75 million contract, Raytheon is modifying the weapons data link for the GBU-15 and AGM-130 weapon systems used for F-15 pilot training. The modification is intended to shift the frequency that the data links use to relay information to the weapon systems so that the data links and commercial systems don’t interfere with each other.
The GBU-15 is an unpowered, glide weapon that consists of modular components attached to either a MK-84 general purpose or BLU-109 penetrating warhead. Each weapon has five components – a forward guidance section, warhead adapter section, control module, airfoil components and a weapon data link.
The guidance section is attached to the nose of the weapon and contains either a television guidance system for daytime or an imaging infrared system for night or limited, adverse weather operations. A data link in the tail section sends guidance updates to the control aircraft that enables the weapon systems operator to guide the bomb by remote control to its target.
The AGM-130 is a powered air-to-surface missile designed for high- and low-altitude strikes at standoff ranges.
Also employing the modular concept, the AGM-130 employs a rocket motor for extended range and an altimeter for altitude control. The AGM-130 provides a significantly increased standoff range than the GBU-15. The AGM-130 has two variants, based on the warhead: the AGM-130A with a MK-84 blast/fragmentation warhead and the AGM-130C with a BLU-109 penetrator.
The AGM-130 is equipped with either a television or an imaging infrared seeker and data link. The seeker provides the launch aircraft a visual presentation of the target as seen from the weapon. During free flight this presentation is transmitted by the AXQ-14 data-link system to the aircraft cockpit monitor.
Under the contract, Raytheon will develop, prototype, qualify, and modify the weapons’ data link equipment at its Indianapolis facility.
The work is being performed under the USAF Training Frequency Relocation (TFR) program. Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, UT manages the TFR contract.
Contracts and Key Events
Feb 10/10: Raytheon Technical Services Co. in Indianapolis, IN announces that it received a $37.9 million delivery order from the USAF to modify weapons data link equipment used in pilot training for F-15 fighter aircraft to accommodate the shift of the spectrum to commercial use.
This is the 2nd delivery order under a 2007 indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract awarded to Raytheon for the USAF Training Frequency Relocation (TFR) program (see Aug 8/07 entry).
Aug 8/07: Raytheon Technical Services Co. in Indianapolis, IN announces that it won a $75 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite quantity contract to modify data link equipment for F-15 fighter pilot training.
Raytheon will modify the weapons data link associated with the GBU-15 and AGM-130 weapons programs for frequency utilization to support the Commercial Spectrum Enhancement Act, which reallocates spectrum from governmental to commercial users. An initial $31.8 million delivery order was executed concurrent with the contract award, which was made under the USAF Training Frequency Relocation program.