WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force plans to release a formal solicitation in December for a contract potentially worth $1 billion to consolidate work on the service’s main satellite control network, with the award to follow at the end of September 2015, according to new information released by the service.

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.

CAMMO will combine three existing contracts: the Air Force Satellite Control Network Contract, currently held by Honeywell Technology Solutions Inc. of Columbia, Maryland; the Engineering Development and Sustainment contract, now held by Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions of Herndon, Virginia ; and the Network Space Operations and Maintenance contract, held by Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Florida. 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.

Industry officials had expected the contract award no earlier than April 2015. But in slides from a Sept. 3 industry day posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website, Air Force officials said the contract award is scheduled for Sept. 30, 2015. A formal request for proposal is planned for Dec. 2.

The contract would cover as many as 7.5 years of service when options are included. Industry estimates of the contract value range anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion.

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 Technology Solutions of Columbia, Maryland.
• Lockheed Martin Information Systems.
• Exelis Information Systems Inc. of McLean, Virginia.

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.