The Russian Ministry of Defense plans to replace nearly half of the Russian Army’s hardware by 2015, according to Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. Ivanov said military spending over the next 8 years was planned at $189 billion, and that official Russian military spending had quadrupled from 2001 to reach $31 billion this year.
Ivanov said weapons purchases would include “17 intercontinental ballistic missiles, 4 military spacecraft with the same number of launch rockets for them,” as well as new bombers, ships, and other heavy equipment. The ICBMs are believed to be the new SS-27 Topol-M, and other plans reportedly include 50 new bombers, 31 ships of varying sizes, and fully re-arming 40 tank, 97 infantry and 50 parachute battalions. Some outside observers doubt Russia’s ability to fulfill these plans, however, given a closed military procurement system, that’s very resistant to scrutiny, in a country with a record of corruption. See Defense-Aerospace: “Russia to Spend $189bn on Weapons by 2015” | “Russia’s Defense Minister Unveils Plans to Overhaul Military.”
January 19/17: Russia has test-fired a Topol-M ICBM, one of the first ballistic missiles to be developed after the fall of the Soviet Union. Capable of being deployed from missile silos or APU launchers mounted on the 16-wheeled MZKT-79221 universal transporter-erector-launcher, the test was carried out to confirm the weapon’s stability. The weapon’s developers claim their product is able to bypass any current or planned US missile defense system, and can make evasive maneuvers to avoid missile interceptors during flight.
The Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC), named for U.S. Air Force pioneer Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, bills itself as “The World’s Premier Flight Simulation Test Facility.” Nearly half of the AEDC’s 58 test facilities are unique in the U.S., and 14 are unique in the world. These specialized test facilities have played a crucial role in the development and sustainment of virtually every high performance aircraft, air-to-air and air-to-ground weapon, missile, and space system in use by all four of the U.S. military services today. The Center has also been involved in the development of every NASA manned space system, many satellites, and numerous commercial aircraft and spacecraft systems.
In 2003, the Air Force consolidated the test operations contract and the base services contract into a single contract for operations, maintenance, information management, and base support, which was awarded to Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) in Tullahoma, TN.
The United Arab Emirates’ AED 3.4 billion (EUR 703 million/ $925 million) “Falcon Eye” optical observation satellites are meant to provide a wholly new capability to their military by 2018, and represented the most advanced optics France had ever sold to another country. France’s CNES cites 0.7m / 2′ 4″ spatial resolution for the Pleiades Class at nadir, and a field of view of 20 km. EADS DS/ Astrium touts up to 100 km x 100 km in strip mapping mode.
The deal has had a rough road lately, and is currently hung up in re-negotiations…
InDyne in Reston, VA received a $24.6 million contract modification to provide infrastructure operations and maintenance services at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and several Florida annexes. The original contract (FA2521-08-C-0006), awarded in 2008, has a maximum value of $188.7 million if the 6 option years are exercised.
CCAFS is an installation of the Air Force Space Command’s 45th Space Wing headquartered at nearby Patrick Air Force Base. Located on Cape Canaveral in Florida, CCAFS and the Kennedy Space Center, from which Shuttle launches are conducted, are the primary space launch facilities in the Eastern United States.
Under the original contract, InDyne provides engineering, planning, operations and maintenance services for facilities and launch systems at CCAFS, Florida annexes, and limited services for Patrick Air Force Base, which manages the contract…
The Orbital Express advanced technology demonstration couples a prototype servicing satellite (ASTRO) and a surrogate next generation serviceable satellite (NextSat). Together, they are meant to test robotic, autonomous, on-orbit refueling and reconfiguration of satellites. If that were possible, it would mean faster, less risky missions to maintain and extend the lives of America’s critical military satellite fleet – and the technology would have more than a few civilian/NASA uses, as well.
The units of USAF Space Command have a wide range of functions, from supervising Space Shuttle launches to maintaining surveillance satellites and radars, operating America’s land-based nuclear missiles, and conducting ballistic missile defense.
Over the last couple of weeks, a number of contracts have been issued for various support services to these entities. We thought our readers might appreciate a look at several of these contracts at once, rather than just presenting them on a contract by contract basis.
Japan is finding itself hemmed in these days by increasingly hostile and dangerous neighbours. Whether the issue is the unstable Kim Jong-Il of North Korea with his drive for nuclear weapons and penchant for launching missile tests that travel over Japan, or a Chinese government perceived as increasingly hostile, Japanese situational awareness and self-defense are beginning to require deep surveillance capabilities.
This may help to explain why Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party has drafted a bill to allow Japan’s military into space within the parameters of self-defense rights. That would be a major change from the current civilian-only restrictions that Japan has placed on space ventures.
The Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) High satellite program aims to replace the current fleet of DSP satellites for early detection of ballistic missile launches. Lockheed Martin has delivered the sensors for the classified satellites, and the payload for the first dedicated satellite is in thermal vacuum testing (UPDATE: completed successfully Jan 18, 2006). Even so, the Lockheed program has had more than its share of difficulties. Its costs grew from $4 billion to $11-12 billion, and the launch date slipped from 2002 to 2009, but SBIRS has thus far been viewed as a problem program with no alternative.
That status may be changing. First of all, the existing DSP satellites are lasting longer than expected. In addition, C4ISR Journal reports that SBIRS is being scaled back from at least 5 to no more than 3 satellites (and possibly 2), due to technical difficulties that have proven “intractable.” They also note that the U.S. Air Force will seek Congressional approval next year to begin work on a new space-based Overhead Non-Imaging Infrared (ONIR) missile-warning satellite system instead. The ONIR competition will take advantage of more up to date sensor and software technologies, but will not be as ambitious as SBIRS in terms of performance requirements. It will also dump the ADA programming language that is the basis of SBIRS current software, in favor of more modern programming languages.
Read C4ISR’s article “Pentagon Scales Back SBIRS Program” for more details regarding SBIRS, the near-term design compromise that the USAF still rejects, and the blow that Undersecretary Krieg’s Dec 12/05 memo represents to Lockheed.
TopSat is a low cost, high capability micro-satellite designed and built by a QinetiQ-led consortium of British companies. After some initial launch delays, it was successfully launched on October 27, 2005 from the Plesetsk launch site in Northern Russia, along with micro-satellites from China, Iran, and Russia. The launch was the culmination of a project that began in 2000 and was jointly funded by the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and the UK Ministry of Defence.
TopSat is attracting increasing interest from international government and commercial interests because it’s designed to provide 2.5 meter resolution imagery at about 20% of the cost of larger satellites with similar capabilities. It is part of Britain’s larger Micro Satellite Applications in Collaboration (MOSAIC) program.
On Sept. 8, 2005, DID covered the evolution of DARPA’s FALCON program for low-cost, fast satellite launches. The goal is a booster that can launch a small satellite for less than $5 million with only 24 hours notice. On Sept. 29, 2005, AirLaunch LLC’s QuickReach system was successfully tested with a dummy booster that was live launched from a C-17 aircraft at 6,000 feet. AirLaunch LLC has now completed an $11.3 million contract under the Falcon program Phase IIA. If selected to move forward, the project would lead to a test flight to orbit in early 2008. See the full release for more details.
Here at DID, we applaud the innovation even as we wonder whether a similar approach could also be used by lesser powers to launch 2-stage ICBMs with INS/GPS guidance.