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Satnews Daily
January 21st, 2016

Initial Testing By USAF Is Successful For OPIR Battlespace Awareness Center

[Satnews] Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center and the 460th Space Wing have initiated 24/7 operations and Integrated Broadcast System messaging of Battlespace Awareness events in the newly stood up Overhead Persistent Infrared Battlespace Awareness Center.

An artist's concept depicts a constellation of SBIRS platforms in Earth orbit.

Image is courtesy of Lockheed Martin.

Recognizing the potential of the Space Based Infrared Systems (SBIRs) satellites and sensors to provide invaluable information beyond its primary mission of missile warning, Air Force Space Command directed the establishment of the OBAC in March 2015.  The OBAC was designed to deliver real-time OPIR Battlespace Awareness and Technical Intelligence capabilities to the warfighter.  On Jan. 6, OBAC operations began and successfully released the first BA message.

The OBAC will continue to grow and expand its mission support.  The Space and Missile Systems Center Remote Sensing Directorate is currently establishing a Remote Sensing Data Exploitation Lab in Boulder, Colorado.  This lab will be the test-bed for the development of new tools and applications for OBAC operational use.  During the next 60-90 day test period, the OBAC systems and operational processes will be comprehensively assessed in preparation for a formal Initial Operational Capability declaration.

"Since its inception, Overhead Persistent Infrared systems were tasked with supporting the missile warning and missile defense missions, and SBIRS has done an amazing job of continuing that mission," said Col. Mike Guetlein, SMC's Remote Sensing System director.  "OBAC operations will provide near-real-time OPIR data exploitation products that provide situational awareness for a myriad of end users.  This far exceeds the original intent of the SBIRS mission, and highlights the extraordinary things these systems and our Airmen can do."