Space Development Agency issues first solicitation for experimental ‘fire-control’ satellites

SDA plans to purchase and deploy eight satellites for its FOO Fighter initiative.
Rendering of a L3Harris missile warning satellite. (L3Harris image)

The Space Development Agency has officially begun soliciting industry bids for a new prototype constellation of satellites that will test next-generation missile tracking and fire-control technologies to address new threats.

According to a request for proposals posted to on Friday, the agency is looking for the “design, fabrication and launch” of four experimental satellites — or potentially eight — for its new Fire-control On Orbit-support-to-the-war Fighter program, also known as FOO Fighter or F2. SDA has plans to award other transaction authority contracts to either one or two vendors as part of the effort.

The satellites will be used to “accelerate the ability to provide fire-control in support of global detection, warning, and precision tracking of advanced missile threats, including hypersonic missile systems,” the RFP stated. “F2 will demonstrate advanced missile defense capability by incorporating fire control-quality sensors into a scalable prototype constellation.”

The agency may also acquire additional satellites and payloads under OTAs in order to “ inform requirements and constellation design,” the RFP stated.


Responses are due Jan. 19, 2024.

SDA first issued a draft solicitation for FOO Fighter in July, indicating that it planned to purchase and deploy eight space vehicles equipped with electro-optical/infrared sensors from more than one vendor that would be launched by the second quarter of fiscal 2026.

While the number of satellites the agency wants for FOO Fighter hasn’t changed, the new RFP indicates that SDA is open to contracting just one vendor to build all eight satellites for the program. The timeline for launch has also been extended to no later than fourth quarter of fiscal 2026, according to the solicitation.

The FOO Fighter initiative is separate from the data transport, missile tracking and experimental satellites that will be part of SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA) in low-Earth orbit. SDA Director Derek Tournear has previously stated that the experimental FOO Fighter satellites will be used to test new technologies that could aid in missile defense and fill any capability gaps existing in the PWSA.

“FOO Fighter is independent. It’s more of an experimentation and demonstration satellite set to go after some very specific types of targets that are not addressed by the tracking constellation, which does the missile warning and the missile tracking and the missile defense,” Tournear said in July at the Air Force Summit hosted by the Potomac Officers Club.


If the FOO Fighter demos prove the technology is viable, SDA would then integrate a more operational set of satellites with Tranche 3 and Tranche 4 of the PWSA’s tracking layer — which are scheduled to launch in 2028 and 2030, respectively.

Mikayla Easley

Written by Mikayla Easley

Mikayla Easley reports on the Pentagon’s acquisition and use of emerging technologies. Prior to joining DefenseScoop, she covered national security and the defense industry for National Defense Magazine. She received a BA in Russian language and literature from the University of Michigan and a MA in journalism from the University of Missouri. You can follow her on Twitter @MikaylaEasley

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