Lockheed Martin has won an $82 million contract to begin initial work on the fifth and sixth geosynchronous satellites in the space based infrared system missile warning constellation.
According to the company, the acquisition of GEO-5 and 6 will include three phases.
“This initial contract will sustain a steady production rate and by the Air Force acquiring satellites in bulk, rather than one at a time, we can significantly reduce costs by achieving economies of scale,” said Jeff Smith, vice president of Lockheed’s overhead persistent infrared mission area.
Lockheed will complete non-recurring engineering activities for GEO-5 and 6 under the first phase. It will also procure select long lead spacecraft parts that enable supplier production lines to deliver the lowest possible price for each component.
The SBIRS program features a mix of GEO satellites, hosted payloads in highly elliptical earth orbit and associated ground hardware and software.
Lockheed has worked on previous SBIRS contracts, including four HEO payloads, four GEO satellites and ground assets to receive, process and disseminate the infrared mission data.
According to the company, two HEO payloads and the GEO-1 satellite have been launched. GEO-2 is scheduled for launch in March 2013.
The Infrared Space Systems Directorate at the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center leads the SBIRS team.
Lockheed is the prime contractor for the SBIRS program, while Northrop Grumman is the payload integrator. The Air Force Space Command operates the SBIRS system.