[Satellite Today 07-16-09] Raytheon Co. was awarded a $30 million contract by the U.S. Air Force for the phase A system design and prototype of the Air Force’s S-band Space Fence system, Raytheon announced July 15. Raytheon joins Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin, which also received $30 million phase A development contracts, as a competitor in the bid to manufacture the system. The Space Fence program is part of a U.S. Department of Defense effort to track and detect resident space objects consisting of thousands of pieces of space debris as well as commercial and military satellites. Space Fence will replace the current VHF Air Force space surveillance system, built in 1961. Delivery of the first Space Fence radar system is expected in 2015.