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Lockheed secures $2.9Bn USAF order for new missile warning satellites

Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $2,935,545,188 from the US Air Force contract for the production of three Next Generation Overhed Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicles (OPIR), the US Defense Department announced on August 14, 2018.

Lockheed 2 9Bn USAF order for new missile warning satellites 001 An Atlas V rocket carrying the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) GEO Flight 4 satellite lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., Jan. 19, 2018
(Credit: U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Dalton Williams)

"This contract encompasses requirements analysis, design/development, critical path flight hardware procurement, early manufacturing, and risk reduction efforts leading to a system critical design review.  Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, California, and is expected to be completed by April 30, 2021," the US DoD stated. 

The US Space and Missile Systems Center, based in Los Angeles Air Force Base (California) is the contracting activity. 

"In order to maintain space superiority over its adversaries, the Air Force is implementing rapid procurement authorities and is targeting the first Next-Gen OPIR launch in 2023," the US Air Force said in May, 2018.

The OPIR satellite will succeed the current Space Based Infrared System (SBRI). Next-Gen OPIR will succeed the current Space Based Infrared System by providing improved missile warning capabilities that are more survivable against emerging threats, such as counter space weapons reportedly being developed by China and Russia.