By John Martin
COBRA DANE Program Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Strategic Warning and Surveillance Systems Division released a request for proposal April 14 to continue radar operations and maintenance at Shemya, Alaska.
The contract, valued at $511 million, will provide operations, maintenance, support and sustainment of the COBRA DANE radar system. The division released the seven-year, single-award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity RFP in alignment with Department of Defense goals.
After evaluating proposals through a competitive, best-value source selection process, the Air Force intends to award a contract in late 2017.
“This competitive contract will allow us to continue supporting our combatant commander’s requirements to track small objects that threaten our assets in space and provide missile defense data to help shield our country from strategic attack,” said Col. Todd Wiest, Division senior materiel leader.
COBRA DANE provides coverage for U.S. Strategic Command’s Ballistic Missile Defense System by accurately detecting and classifying objects and tracking threats. It also supports the space situational awareness mission by detecting, tracking, correlating and characterizing space objects such as satellites in low-Earth orbit and space debris.
Built in the 1970s to serve as an early warning system during the Cold War, the COBRA DANE radar stands 120 feet tall and has a 95-foot diameter array face. It is capable of detecting objects thousands of miles away.
The Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency transferred mission responsibility of COBRA DANE to Air Force Space Command in April 2013. The Strategic Warning and Surveillance Systems Division assumed full program management responsibility for sustainment and contracted operations in March 2015. In December 2015, AFLCMC awarded a two year sole-source contract to Raytheon to integrate multiple sustainment activities and improve visibility into system costs and risks, paving the way for this competitive follow-on contract.
“Since the COBRA DANE Program Office stood up two years ago, we have established a cohesive sustainment plan to stabilize long-term supportability, while improving our ability to monitor the health of the system,” said Maj. Daniel Barker, COBRA DANE program manager. “Releasing this solicitation is the next step in ensuring the radar’s continued mission success.”