Lockheed Martin is thrilled after receiving a $1 billion contract that will see it operate and maintain the ground control systems of the Space Based Infrared System or SBIRS ground control centers. The US Space Force announced the contract on June 4. SBIRS is a component in the DOD missile warning network that is designed to detect ballistic missile launches.
The system has two infrared sensors in a highly elliptical orbit and five satellites in geosynchronous orbit. Lockheed Martin has been the primary contractor for SBIRS since the mid-1990s. The fifth satellite for the system launched on May 18, and the sixth and final SBIRS satellite is currently in production and expected to launch in 2022.
The $1 billion contract is a five-year sole-source contract for operations and maintenance of the SBIRS mission control center at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado. The network also has operation centers at Peterson Air Force Base and Greeley Air National Guard station. Officials Lockheed Martin says the contract covers logistics support for existing ground systems and upgrades needed to operate the last two satellites in the constellation.
The Space Force is currently planning to transition to a new network of missile warning satellites known as Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared and a new ground control system called Future Operationally Resilient campground Evolution. Lockheed Martin is contracted to produce a trio of Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared geosynchronous satellites.
The first of the new satellites are expected to launch in 2025. Lockheed Martin’s new $1 billion contract funds work to maintain and sustain infrastructure for the Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution ground control systems and to ensure the deployment of the last two satellites in the network for the original constellation.