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USAF Invests $15.5M in Hybrid Space Surveillance Architecture

The US Air Force has awarded a $15.5 million contract to American geospatial analytics firm HawkEye 360 to support the country’s hybrid space Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) architecture.

Under the contract, the company will provide space-based radio frequency data, analytics, and research to help the service demonstrate and evaluate its ISR system for space operations.

The agreement requires HawkEye to provide embedded personnel support, data collection, and necessary tools directly to the Space Vehicles Directorate of the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).

Company CEO John Serafini said that the recently awarded contract serves as a “tremendous opportunity” for HawkEye since the agreement will allow the firm to participate in US military exercises while introducing new capabilities.

“Ultimately, we hope to shape a pathway for further integration of valuable commercial capabilities into the government’s space architecture,” he said in a press release.

‘Exploring at Greater Scale’

HawkEye 360 specializes in operating a growing constellation of satellites that can detect, characterize, and precisely geolocate radio frequency signals from a broad range of emitters.

The company said it processes and analyzes radio frequency data and delivers “high-impact actionable insights” across a broad range of sectors, including environmental protection and national security.

AFRL Technical Program Manager Charlene Jacka explained that the US Department of Defense has been trying to identify and evaluate ISR capabilities for integration into the US Air Force and the US Space Force.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to explore at greater scale and depth, using real-world scenarios, how a leading radio frequency data and analytics provider such as HawkEye 360 can supplement and strengthen our hybrid satellite ISR architecture and to develop new tactics, techniques, and procedures,” she remarked.

Other Space-Related Developments

Last month, the US Space Force conducted a virtual exercise to test the ability of its satellite network to resist various types of attack, particularly those from Russian and Chinese anti-satellite weapons.

The country has also awarded American technology firm L3Harris a $121 million contract to support the modernization of 16 secretive weapons capable of jamming enemy communications.

According to the US Department of Defense, the weapons can reversibly deny adversary satellite communications and early warning capabilities.

In December, Raytheon Technologies received a $67 million contract to test the prototype weather system designed for the US Space Force. The new weather system will replace the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, which provides weather imagery observations data and cloud cover analysis.

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