The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $46 million modification to the production contract for geosynchronous vehicles five and six in the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program. SBIRS satellites provide advanced early missile warning and battlefield awareness. Three SBIRS satellites are currently on-orbit, with GEO-3 having launched in January. Lockheed originally received $1.9 billion for production of GEO-5 and GEO-6 in 2014. SBIRS is one of a number of space acquisition programs that recently came under fire in a Government Accountability Office report, which said the program arrived nine years late and had 300 percent cost overruns. President Donald Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposes $1.4 billion in new funding for the program, which the Air Force says will complete GEO-5 and GEO-6 production and begin work on GEO-7 and GEO-8.
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.