Lockheed Martin has bagged a $1.86 billion contract from the U.S. Air Force to produce two Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, for the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS).
"This contract is the third part of a thoughtful acquisition strategy aimed at further reducing cost and cycle time for GEO-5 and GEO-6, while still providing exceptional data to the warfighter," said Jeffrey Smith, vice president of Lockheed Martin's Overhead Persistent Infrared mission area.
Lockheed Martin noted that SBIRS provides continuous early warning of ballistic missile launches and other tactical intelligence for the U.S.
The Air Force awarded initial funding for the two satellites in a 2012 contract to complete non-recurring engineering activities and to procure select long lead parts. In 2013, the service awarded the advance procurement contract to secure additional long lead parts.
According to the company, "the SBIRS architecture includes a resilient mix of satellites in GEO, hosted payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), and ground hardware and software. The GEO-1 and GEO-2 satellites both received Air Force Space Command Operational Acceptance in 2013."
The SBIRS team is led by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor, Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.