SBIRS Gains Flexibility

The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $460 million contract for the company to implement a more flexible ground infrastructure for Space Based Infrared System early warning satellites. Under this agreement, Lockheed will supply the next version of the SBIRS ground element, Block 10, that is built upon an architecture allowing for better segregation of the SBIRS mission areas (e.g., missile launch early warning, technical intelligence) for easier sustainment and evolution of capability, according to Defense Department officials. Block 10 will also make SBIRS data available to a large community of users for both real-time activities and offline analysis, they said. The Block 10 ground system will support SBIRS satellites and legacy Defense Support Program early warning spacecraft. GEO-1, the first SBIRS satellite, is slated for launch in early May. Already, two SBIRS sensor payloads are operating on classified satellites on orbit. (DOD’s April 4 contract list)