WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force awarded the Raytheon-led industry team Range Generation Next LLC a contract potentially worth $2 billion to support the U.S. Air Force’s two main launch ranges. 

A Defense Department announcement posted Nov. 6 described the award as an $86.5 million fixed-price-incentive contract that runs through September 2015. The Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles subsequently issued a press release putting the total potential contract value, including all potential options and potential award fee, at $2 billion.

“I am proud of the men and women who operate, maintain, and sustain our ranges and the track record of mission success built over the years,”  Gen. John Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, said in a statement.  “With LISC, we will continue to provide the same great range capability but now at a much more affordable price.” 

LISC — short for Launch and Test Range System Integrated Support Contract — consolidates three contracts currently supporting the Air Force’s launch ranges at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The 10-year effort is part of a broad strategy by the Air Force to consolidate many of its ground support contracts as operating budgets shrink and possibility of the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration lingers.

The LISC contract is considered the cornerstone of that effort.

The Range Generation Next team is led by Raytheon Technical Services of Reston, Virginia, which also includes General Dynamics of Falls Church, Virginia; ASRC Aerospace Corp. of Greenbelt, Maryland; ARES Corp. of Burlingame, California; Schafer Corp. of Arlington, Virginia.; and Primus Solutions of Greenbelt.

Currently, a team of Raytheon and PAE supports Cape Canaveral; InDyne supports Vandenberg; and Exelis provides sustainment at both sites. Contractors have been receiving gap contracts for several months in anticipation of the final award.

The Air Force first issued a “sources sought” notice for LISC in 2009, but a contract award has been delayed several times, including to carve out a portion of the work for small businesses.

“We are currently experiencing significant duplication of work because no single contractor is responsible for total system performance of the Eastern Range and Western Range,” Lt. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, then the commander of the Air Force Space and Missile Center, wrote in a 2013 article for the Air & Space Power Journal. “This effort is designed to enhance mission effectiveness and generate cost efficiencies at both the Eastern Range and Western Range, which allows us to reinvest the savings in the ranges.”

The announcement said four teams bid on the contract.

The other three teams were:

  • Consolidated Range Enterprise, whose members include Lockheed Martin Information Systems and Global Solutions of Gaithersburg, Maryland; InDyne Corp. of Reston; and URS Corp. of San Francisco.
  • InSpace21, whose members include PAE of Arlington, and Honeywell Corp. of Morristown, New Jersey. This team formerly included CSC, which sold its applied technologies business to PAE this year.
  • ITT Exelis Information Systems of McLean, Virginia, which bid with BAE Systems of Arlington, and L-3 Communications of New York.

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.