Kratos Defense & Security Solutions of San Diego will complete development and deployment of the current phase of a U.S. Air Force satellite threat-notification system under a $9.9 million contract modification, the company announced Jan. 17.
By virtue of its acquisition last year of satellite-control software provider Integral Systems, Kratos is prime contractor on the Rapid Attack, Identification, Detection and Reporting System, or RAIDRS. The program is designed to field a ground-based system capable of quickly identifying, characterizing and locating sources of electromagnetic interference to U.S. military communications satellites in C-, X- and Ku-band frequency ranges.
According to the press release, the contract modification will enable Kratos to fully field the RAIDRS Block 10 system. The program has established a central operating location at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., and has begun work on three of a planned five worldwide nodes, the release said.
The RAIDRS program is part of a wider upgrade to the Joint Space Operations Center at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., which in addition to managing and protecting Pentagon space operations tracks some 20,000 objects orbiting the Earth. RAIDRS has been scaled back several times over the years due to delays and cost growth.
When the RAIDRS program started in 2005, the Air Force anticipated a $226 million price tag and an initial operations capability in 2008, according to a May 2011 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). The most recent program restructuring, ordered in 2009 in response to $78.5 million in cost growth and four years of delay, reduced the number of RAIDRS stations from nine — six fixed and three deployable — to the current five deployable nodes, the report said.
The simplified system is expected to meet 92 percent of the original RAIDRS requirements, with reduced simultaneous threat-identification and geolocation capabilities and reduced UHF interference capabilities, according to the GAO report, “Space Acquisitions: Development and Oversight Challenges in Delivering Improved Situational Awareness Capabilities.” According to the report, the Air Force spent $218.9 million on RAIDRS through 2011 and has budgeted a total of $280.1 million for the program through 2015.
Yolanda White, a spokeswoman for Kratos, did not return phone calls seeking additional information about the contract modification.