The nation’s two Space Tracking and Surveillance System demonstration satellites are ready to participate fully in ballistic missile defense system tests following completion of on-orbit sensor calibration, according to prime contractor Northrop Grumman. The company, together with infrared sensor payload provider Raytheon, finished the calibration tests late last year, states a Northrop release. “We are confident that upcoming tests involving STSS will generate the kind of quality of data that will validate our projections of the value of space-based sensors for missile tracking,” said Doug Young, Northrop’s vice president of missile defense and warning programs. The Missile Defense Agency launched the satellites into low-Earth orbit in September 2009 to test their missile-tracking capabilities. STSS, noted Young, is “the only system capable of tracking ballistic missiles through all phases of [their] flight.” (See also Another On-Orbit Success for STSS from the Daily Report archives)
Rumored cuts to the F-35 from the fiscal 2025 defense budget—six from Air Force plans—would not be offset by recent Foreign Military Sales, and will disrupt ongoing Lot 19 negotiations, Pentagon and industry sources said.