Monday, May 11, 2015

USAF Kills Key Space Control Program | Defense content from Aviation Week

USAF Kills Key Space Control Program | Defense content from Aviation Week: The U.S. Air Force is terminating one of its flagship defensive counterspace programs—one designed to identify sources of satellite communications interference—due to “cost and performance” issues.

Ending the Rapid Attack Identification Detection Reporting System (Raidrs) comes as Air Force officials have taken their most public and vocal stand in years in favor of improved space control projects, including a $5 billion addition to the fiscal 2016-20 budget request and an uncharacteristically open interview by Air Force Space Command chief Gen. John Hyten on the U.S. television program 60 Minutes in April.

Raidrs, a collection of ground-based monitoring antennas, was one of three acknowledged defensive counterspace projects created more than a decade ago. It was designed to ensure that military operators—especially those supporting war operations in Iraq and Afghanistan— had nonstop service from military and commercial satellites providing crucial communications. At the time, roughly 80% of the satellite communications for forces there was provided by commercial systems. As demand for using satcom has grown so have instances of interference—friendly and hostile.

And just as soon as it was fielded, the Air Force pulled the plug.