The Air Force will use “rapid procurement authorities” in this program and is targeting the first next-generation OPIR launch in 2023.
The decision to sole-source the development of a new constellation further solidifies Lockheed Martin’s and Northrop Grumman's dominance.
Air Force to award contracts to Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman for future missile-warning satellite constellation
The Air Force on Friday announced it will award two sole-source contracts to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman for the next-generation overhead persistent infrared program.
Will Roper: “I’m excited to be a part of space modernization."
"Other transactions authorities" allow the Air Force to go faster to prototyping.
For the space-based infrared SBIRS satellites 5 and 6, the Air Force says the per-unit cost went down 12 percent — from $1.9 billion to $1.6 billion.
What exactly will replace SBIRS remains to be seen. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson suggested the new system will be “simpler” and more survivable to enemy attacks.
The SBIRS GEO Flight 4 satellite flew aboard a U.S. Air Force Atlas 5 rocket. This was the 75th launch carried out by the Atlas 5.
SN Military.Space | Government shutdown watch – Senate to hear from key DoD nominees – New SBIRS satellite set for liftoff
With no budget deal in sight to avert a Friday government shutdown, a visibly frustrated Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee — and a vocal champion of bigger military budgets — called out his congressional colleagues for putting political agendas ahead of national security
The SBIRS satellites are equipped with powerful scanning and staring infrared sensors that collect data for use by the U.S. military to detect missile launches.
The plan is to shift the current ground software architecture to an open-systems platform that the Air Force would own and update with new technology as it becomes available.
Thornberry cautioned the budget impasse will keep the Air Force from acquiring additional Space-Based Infrared Warning System satellites, known as SBIRS.
The announcement adds to the $1.86 billion Lockheed won in 2014 to build the fifth and sixth geostationary satellites for the Air Force’s Space-Based Infrared System.
The SBIRS GEO Flight 3 spacecraft transmitted its first images back to Earth March 17, a milestone known as “first light.”
Lockheed Martin Space Systems won a $15 million contract modification for work on the Air Force’s Space Based Infrared System, or SBIRS, the service announced March 15.