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Air Force eyes mounting infrared surveillance sensor on a commercial satellite

EL SEGUNDO, Calif.-U.S. Air Force officials are kicking off a project to develop a future infrared sensor payload for a commercial satellite.

The Wide Field of View (WFOV) Hosted Payload (HP) project will develop a staring overhead persistent infrared (OPIR) WFOV payload to be hosted on a commercial satellite, rather than on a military satellite, Air Force officials say.

The WFOV HP program is part of the Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center Space-Based Infrared Systems Directorate Space Modernization Initiative (SMI).

Experts were to brief industry earlier this month to present an overview of the project and get industry feedback on objectives, requirements, definitions, and costs.

In late 2011, the Air Force issued a pre-solicitation notice to identify qualified infrared payload providers for a future WFOV payload procurement. Despite delays, the industry briefings represented a continuation of that pre-solicitation.

The Air Force still is conducting market research to determine if a contractor can build and deliver the WFOV HP within cost and schedule targets. The Air Force wants the infrared sensor payload finished within two and a half years at a cost of $40 million.

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