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Team SBL-IFX Awarded $97 Million For Next Phase Of Space-Based Laser Program

Press Release From: TRW, Inc.
Posted: Monday, November 6, 2000

Team SBL-IFX, 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.

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