USSTRATCOM accepts America’s newest missile warning payload
By Maj. Bryant Wade , 11th Space Warning Squadron
/ Published August 27, 2009
SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- U. S. Strategic Command officially certified the second Space Based Infrared System Highly Elliptical Orbit payload for operational use Aug. 7. The payload is operated by personnel at the 11th Space Warning Squadron, Schriever Air Force Base, Colo. The certification occurred approximately eight months after the first Highly Elliptical Orbit payload was certified in December 2008.
This certification allows an 11th SWS space operator to send a missile launch report via the Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base to theater combatant commanders through the Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack Assessment System and Theater Event System. These networks are the backbone for global missile warning and missile defense.
"It is a major milestone for our unit to become a certified contributor to the Overhead Persistent Infrared community," said Master Sgt. Larry Roach, 11th SWS flight chief.
The addition of the second Highly Elliptical Orbit Infrared payload to the SBIRS architecture improves polar coverage and enhances the constant coverage provided by Defense Support Program satellites. The data provided by the HEO payloads also allow for quicker detection and warning of missile events. These capabilities improve Air Force Space Command's ability to provide accurate warning for theater and strategic missile events to the national defense community and U.S. Forces deployed worldwide with ample time to react.
Tech. Sgt. Matt Nelson, 8th Space Warning Squadron, Detachment 1 systems crew chief and fulltime Reserve member said, "I feel our ability to provide missile warning with two (Highly Elliptical Orbit payload) IR sensors really helps our Airmen out in the theater."