a joint venture comprising TRW, Lockheed Martin,
and Boeing has been awarded a $97 million contract
modification by the Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center, Los
Angeles Air Force Base, to conduct the second phase of a technology
demonstration program aimed at launching an experimental laser into
space in 2012 to shoot down a ballistic missile in 2013.

The award for Increment 2 of the Space-Based Laser Integrated
Flight Experiment (SBL-IFX) program, which is funded jointly by the
Air Force and the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization, extends
through November 2001. It brings the total value of the joint
venture’s SBL-IFX development contract to approximately $240 million.

The Increment 2 funding will allow Team SBL-IFX to continue the
work it began in May 1999 developing and maturing the component
technologies required to produce, integrate and test a satellite
carrying a high-energy laser, and developing the requirements for that
flight demonstration.

“Team SBL-IFX is continuing to make solid progress identifying and
refining the requirements, design and manufacturing technologies
needed to meet the size, weight, cost and performance requirements of
the SBL-IFX program,” said Barry Waldman, director of Team SBL-IFX.
“We are looking forward to demonstrating the technical feasibility of
building and deploying a space-based, boost-phase missile intercept
system as part of the nation’s missile defense architecture.” The
Space-Based Laser is the only ballistic-missile, boost-phase intercept
system being pursued by the Department of Defense to provide global
defense coverage to counter ICBM attacks against the United States or
its allies.

“The major event of Increment 2,” explained Waldman, “will be the
System Definition Review, which is currently planned for fall 2001. At
that time, we’ll extend our system level specifications for the IFX
down to major program segments, including the space segment, the
payload segment and the launch segment. We’ll also use it as an
intermediate step toward the IFX Preliminary Design Review, which will
occur in a future increment.”

According to Waldman, the second increment will also focus on the
design, pilot manufacturing and laboratory testing of key components
required for the SBL-IFX laser, beam director and beam control system.

Team SBL-IFX comprises TRW Space & Electronics Group, Redondo
Beach, Calif.; Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space Operations, Sunnyvale,
Calif.; and Boeing Space & Communications Group, Seal Beach, Calif.

TRW is leading the integration of the SBL-IFX payload, developing
and maturing laser payload technologies and leading the development of
the SBL-IFX space test facility. Lockheed Martin is leading the
development of the SBL-IFX spacecraft and its integration with the
payload, maturing the critical beam director technologies and leading
the definition of an operational SBL architecture, while Boeing is
developing and maturing SBL-IFX beam control technologies, leading the
systems engineering, integration and test of the SBL-IFX and leading
the SBL-IFX mission operations segment.