Military Embedded Systems

Next two missile defense SBIRS satellites to be built by Lockheed Martin


June 25, 2014

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

SUNNYVALE, CA. Lockheed Martin won a U.S. Air Force contract worth about $1.86 billion to finish production of the fifth and sixth Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites, also known as GEO-5 and GEO-6, for the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS).

The SBIRS architecture has a mix of satellites in GEO, hosted payloads in Highly Elliptical Orbit (HEO), as well as ground hardware and software. The GEO-1 and GEO-2 satellites each received Air Force Space Command Operational Acceptance in 2013, and have performance that matches, and sometimes exceeds, requirements. Scheduled for delivery at the end of this year, GEO-3 currently is undergoing acoustic and thermal vacuum testing at Lockheed Martin’s Sunnyvale, CA satellite manufacturing facility. GEO-4 recently entered final assembly, integration and test.

SBIRS provides continuous early warning of ballistic missile launches and other tactical intelligence. Initial funding for the two satellites was awarded by the Air Force 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.

The SBIRS team is run by the Infrared Space Systems Directorate located at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. Lockheed Martin is the SBIRS prime contractor and Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator. Air Force Space Command officials operate the SBIRS system.


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