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Operational Acceptance Achieved on SBIRS HEO System

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- The Air Force announced today operational acceptance of the Space Based Infrared System Highly Elliptical Orbit--HEO-1-- payload and associated ground system into operational service.

SMC's Space Based Infrared Systems Wing Commander, Col. Roger Teague, noted, "This is a great moment for the SBIRS Program. Achievement of this milestone represents many years of hard work by space operators, acquirers and testers alike. The SBIRS Wing is proud to deliver this important capability to the nation."

The system has successfully completed trial period operations where, for the first time, live HEO data was injected into the warfighters operational networks providing critical warning and intelligence information. USSTRATCOM certification of the HEO-1 payload and ground processing elements is expected later this year.

SMC Commander, Lt. Gen. Tom Sheridan, marked the event, "Today's achievement heralds a new era in our space-based infrared capabilities and advances our joint warfighters' battlespace awareness. Bringing this exciting capability online would not have been possible without the superior dedication and synergistic efforts of our Government/Industry team."

The HEO sensor provides an unprecedented infrared view of the battlefield that represents the first steps in an evolving battlespace awareness capability while also providing real-time data on missiles, aircraft and other events.

Gen. C. Robert Kehler, commander of Air Force Space Command, approved the operational acceptance of the SBIRS HEO-1 and stated, "This declaration provides us with an improved space-based sensor and ground system supporting missile warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness and technical intelligence. This is another key step in exploiting the enhanced capabilities of SBIRS HEO in support of warfighting operations."