The U.S. Air Force issued a solicitation June 8 for industry studies of advanced sensor technologies and alternative constellation architectures for a next-generation weather satellite system.

The Air Force plans to award multiple contracts and the period of performance will be 12 to 15 months per contract, according to the solicitation notice. Proposals submitted under the broad agency announcement will be evaluated by a peer or scientific review process unlike those filed under a request for proposals.

Congress last year directed the Air Force to cancel plans for a program dubbed the Defense Weather Satellite System but provided $123.5 million in 2012 for an unspecified follow-on to the service’s current generation of meteorological spacecraft. The service requested just $2 million for follow-on system studies in 2013.

According to the solicitation, the estimated contract values for the upcoming studies are: up to $14 million for electro-optical/infrared sensor work; $7 million for system and spacecraft activities; and $6 million for microwave sensor work. The total potential value of all work awarded under the solicitation is $83 million, funding that can be spent only in 2012 and 2013.