Statement of Work for the SDI Space Based Interceptor (SBI)
by Ron Kurtus (21 November 2007)
The Space Based Interceptor (SBI) was intended to be a vital part of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) in that it would be a means to intercept and destroy incoming enemy missiles before they reached the continental United States (CONUS).
Martin-Marietta and Rockwell International were the competing prime contractors in developing SBI hardware and software. Each company submitted a Statement of Work (SOW) as part of their contract.
Questions you may have include:
- What was the Space Based Interceptor?
- What role did the contractors have?
- What was the Statement of Work?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Space Based Interceptor (SBI)
The Space Based Interceptor was originally called the Space Based Kinetic Energy Weapon System (SBKEWS) to differentiate it from the proposed high-energy laser system, which was called the Direct Energy Weapon System (DEWS). Kinetic energy meant that the interceptor would use its velocity to damage and destroy a missile. It was also called a "smart rock" because it was like throwing a guided rock at the missile.
SBKEWS was then changed SABIR (as in saber). The acronym was finally simplified to SBI.
(As you can tell, the military is really in love with acronyms. Also, with the numerous changes, it makes one wonder if someone in charge had too much time on his hands.)
Since actual anti-ballistic missile tests were forbidden by international agreement, the program was considered a System Concept and Integrated Technology (SCIT). This means only research and development of the concept and technologies was being performed.
The prime contractors that were providing competing designs for SBI were Martin-Marietta, located in Denver, Colorado area and Rockwell International, located in Redondo Beach, California.
Rockwell had an advantage of being only a few miles from the Los Angeles Air Force Base (AFB), where the Air Force's SDI program offices were located. The proximity did not really affect the competition.
SBI and DEWS program offices were located in the top secret Building 80, which was located by itself about a mile from the Los Angeles AFB.
Statement of Work (SOW) sample
An unclassified copy of the Rockwell International Statement of Work for the Space Based Interceptor (SABIR) System Concept and Integrated Technology (SCIT), dated 11 May 1987 is available for your study. It is not the compete SOW, which is top secret. Instead, this is Attachment 1, which gives an overview of the proposed work planned by Rockwell. The Martin-Marietta SOW was similar.
SBI SOW - PDF 298KB
Note that clicking on Table of Contents items will take you to that page in the document.
The Space Based Interceptor was a vital part of the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Its mission was to intercept and destroy incoming enemy missiles. The program was only intended to be research on the concept and technologies. Martin-Marietta and Rockwell International were the prime contractors in developing SBI. Each company submitted a Statement of Work (SOW) as part of their contract.
Defense is often the best offense
Resources and references
History of the Missile Defense Organization - U.S. Department of Defense
Secret Weapons of the Cold War: From the H-Bomb to SDI by William Yenne; Berkley (2005) $7.99
US Strategic And Defensive Missile Systems 1950-2004 by Mark A. Berhow, Chris Taylor; Osprey Books (2005) $16.95
Questions and comments
Do you have any questions, comments, or opinions on this subject? If so, send an email with your feedback. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.
Share this page
Click on a button to bookmark or share this page through Twitter, Facebook, email, or other services:
Students and researchers:
The Web address of this page is:
Please include it as a link on your website or as a reference in your report, document, or thesis.
Where are you now?
Statement of Work for the SDI Space Based Interceptor