New SBIRS ground system enters into dedicated operational testing

LOS ANGELES AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --

Air Force Space Command’s Space and Missile Systems Center and 460th Space Wing are pleased to announce the successful completion of the Space-Based Infrared Systems Block 10 ground system’s Integrated Test and Evaluation (IT&E) phase and entry into Operational Utility Evaluation (OUE), the dedicated operational testing phase of the program.  

Key development, operations and test stakeholders met to provide an accurate readiness assessment of the Block 10 ground system’s ability to enter and successfully complete dedicated operational testing.  Based on stakeholder inputs, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Command began dedicated operational testing at the Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base June 12 and shifted to the backup Mission Control Station at Schriever AFB July 16.

The new Block 10 ground system consolidates operational command and control of Defense Support Program satellites, SBIRS Geosynchronous Earth Orbiting satellites and SBIRS Highly Elliptical Orbit sensors under one primary Mission Control Station at Buckley AFB, Colorado.  It also significantly increases performance capability across the four SBIRS mission areas of missile-warning, missile-defense, battlespace awareness, and technical intelligence. 

“Our operators successfully completed their longest run to date on the new SBIRS Block 10 Ground weapon system.  We are already seeing improvements across the board with improved surveillance and warning utilizing SBIRS Block 10 Ground,” said Col. John Wagner, 460th Space Wing commander.  “I'm proud to see the 'can do' attitude and partnerships between our operations, support, contractor, and system acquisition teams.  They are knocking down obstacles and solving problems together, and rapidly building the best possible solution for advanced U.S. and allied warning as one integrated team.”

“The IT&E Phase tested total system readiness, to include trained operational crews.  Its successful completion is a true indicator of the new ground system’s readiness for live operations,” said Brig. Gen. Mike Guetlein, Remote Sensing Systems director.  “Entry into Operational Utility Evaluation is a significant milestone that demonstrates we’re on track for operational acceptance this November.”

The Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center manages the SBIRS Block 10 development program. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, Sunnyvale, California, is the SBIRS prime contractor, and Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems, Azusa, California, is the payload integrator. The 460th Space Wing at Buckley AFB in Aurora, Colorado, operates the SBIRS system.

The SBIRS program delivers timely, reliable and accurate missile-warning and infrared surveillance information to the president of the United States, the secretary of defense, combatant commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers. The system enhances global missile launch detection capability, supports the nation’s ballistic missile defense system, expands the country’s technical intelligence gathering capacity and bolsters situational awareness for warfighters on the battlefield.

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