[Via Satellite 10-16-2015] The U.S. Air Force announced Oct. 15 that it had awarded launch services contracts to United Launch Alliance (ULA) on Oct. 1 for two defense missions as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) phase-1 block buy contract.
The launch service contracts include launch vehicle production, mission integration and launch operations for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) L-47 and Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO-4 missions, which are both scheduled to launch in Fiscal Year (FY) 2018. NROL-47 will support the NRO’s national security intelligence objectives, and SBIRS GEO-4 will provide early warning for missile launches.
The phase 1 block buy covers 36 rocket cores to be procured from FY 2013 to 2017, from which the Air Force estimates it garnered $4.4 billion in total savings.
In phase 1A, which takes place from fiscal years 2015 to 2017, the Air Force plans to compete a total of up to nine missions. The release of a GPS 3 Request for Proposals (RFP) on Sept. 30 marked the beginning of the phase 1A competitions, though ULA has stated that it lacks enough engines to effectively compete.
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