WASHINGTON — Industry officials expect the U.S. Air Force to release a draft solicitation within the next month for a contract worth about $500 million to consolidate work on the service’s main satellite control network, industry officials said.

The contract, known as CAMMO, short for Consolidated Air Force Satellite Control Network Modifications, Maintenance and Operations, is one of several consolidation contracts planned by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center as it copes with shrinking budgets.

SMC leaders have said the center’s budget, which is used to buy space systems, shrunk to about $5.6 billion in fiscal year 2014, down at least $2.4 billion from two years ago .

“With the budget constraints, a quick and easy way to cost reductions is to consolidate where appropriate,” said Nick Smith, senior vice president and general manager of L-3 National Security Solutions’ Defense Solutions unit, which is among the likely bidders for the CAMMO contract.

Industry officials, including John Sullivan, director of business development at Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc., said by consolidating contracts the Air Force can save money by having fewer contracting officers, writing fewer checks, and taking advantage of economies of scale.

CAMMO will combine three existing contracts: the Air Force Satellite Control Network Contract, currently held by Honeywell; the Engineering Development and Sustainment contract, now held by Lockheed Martin; and the Network Space Operations and Maintenance contract, held by Harris Corp. Those contracts cover most of the activities associated with operating a large portion of the Air Force’s satellite fleet, including data uplink and downlink, command and control, communications, software and testing

The contract award, expected no earlier than April 2015, would cover as many as 7.5 years of service when options are included. Industry officials expect the contract to be valued to be about $500 million to $600 million.

Among the companies and teams expected to bid are:

  • L-3 Defense Solutions of Reston, Virginia, working with Harris IT Services of Dulles, Virginia, and five others.
  • Honeywell Technical Solutions of Columbia, Maryland.
  • Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions of Henrdon, Virginia.
  • Exelis Information Systems Inc. of McLean, Virginia.

The CAMMO contract is not as far along as some of the Air Force’s other space-related consolidated efforts. In the third quarter of this year, for example, the service is expected to award a multibillion-dollar contract to support the nation’s two main launch ranges.

The Launch and Test Range System Integrated Support Contract, known as LISC, is a 10-year deal that consolidates three contracts currently supporting the ranges surrounding Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The Air Force had been expected to award the contract in 2013, but the date got pushed into 2014.

The four teams believed to have bid for the LISC contract are:

  • Consolidated Range Enterprise, whose members include Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions; InDyne Corp. of Reston, Virginia; and URS Corp. of San Francisco.
  • InSpace21, whose members include PAE of Arlington and Honeywell Corp. of Morristown, New Jersey.
  • Raytheon Intelligence Information and Services of Dulles, which is leading a team that includes General Dynamics of Falls Church, Virginia; ASRC Aerospace Corp. of Greenbelt, Maryland; ARES Corp. of Burlingame, California; Schafer Corp. of Arlington; and Primus Solutions of Greenbelt.
  • Exelis Information Systems, which is bidding with BAE Systems, and L-3 Communications of New York.

The main contract is potentially valued at $2.5 billion to $3 billion.

The Air Force is also fine-tuning the details on another consolidation contract known as SMORS, short for the Sustainment and Modification of Radar Sensors.

The SMORS contract, first announced in February 2012, was originally expected to include optical as well as radar sensors. But in a May 19 posting on the Federal Business Opportunities website,  the Air Force said the SMORS deal would focus exclusively on eight radar sensors including those at Cobra Dane, Thule, Cavalier and Clear Air Force bases.

Exelis Information Systems is expected to bid on the SMORS contract.

Vincent Sica, vice president of space ground solutions at Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions, said via email May 29 that the company is still considering its options for that contract.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions of Rockville, Maryland.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.