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The Pentagon plans to launch satellites that will persistently stare at targets from space for long periods of time, an official said.
Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers gave the estimate at a defense conference this week in Washington, D.C.
According to Defensetech, the Defense Department is at a “pivotal moment for intelligence” due to the rapid technological and geopolitical changes underway throughout the world, he said. Adapting to the environment requires both short– and long-term investments, he said.
The Air Force’s current Space Base Infrared System, known as SBIRS, and legacy Defense Support Program, or DSP, satellites support the Overhead Persistent Infrared Technology mission in such areas as missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and ‘battle-space’ awareness, according to a Government Accountability Office report from January.
The service’s Commercially Hosted Infrared Payload, or CHIRP, demonstration sensor employed a wide field-of-view staring technology — which provided insight into the applicability for the mission area, the document states.
During the past decade of U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon was forced to turn to the private sector and rent bandwidth on commercial satellites because its own networks couldn’t meet the constant demand from commanders for video and other data captured by drones flying over the battlefield.