(Source: Lockheed Martin)
12:00 AM, November 17, 2008
SUNNYVALE, Calif. --- The first Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO-1) payload and ground system, built by a Lockheed Martin team, has been accepted for operations by the U.S Air Force.>> SBIRS is designed to provide early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously support other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.>> Acceptance of the HEO-1 system follows a highly successful operational utility evaluation and trial period during which live HEO data was injected into user operational networks providing critical warning and intelligence data. The evaluation demonstrated the significant new capabilities being delivered to the warfighter through the HEO system. This milestone paves the way for United States Strategic Command's formal certification of the HEO-1 system next month.>> "The introduction of SBIRS HEO system into operations has provided significantly enhanced early warning and intelligence capabilities for the warfighter," said Jeff Smith, Lockheed Martin's SBIRS vice president. "We look forward to our continued progress in fielding this critical capability and achieving total mission success for our customer.">> A second significant milestone for the SBIRS HEO system was reached this week when the Air Force approved entry of HEO-2 into a Development Transfer period, effectively enabling the Air Force to begin assuming operational control of the HEO-2 payload. These two important events will enable the HEO system to enter a two-flight Operational Utility Evaluation and Trial Period in the first quarter of next year.