MOORESTOWN, N.J., June 4 (UPI) -- Advanced S-Band phased array radars are to be provided to the U.S. Air Force by Lockheed Martin for the Space Fence program, the company announced.
The contract for the ground-based radars carries a value of $914 million. If all contract options are exercised over its eight-year period of performance, the value would increase to more than $1.5 billion.
"Space-based technologies enable daily conveniences such as weather forecasting, banking, global communications and GPS navigation, yet everyday these critical services are being threatened by hundreds of thousands of objects orbiting Earth," said Dale Bennett, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin's Mission Systems and Training business. "Space Fence will locate and track these objects with more precision than ever before to help the Air Force transform space situational awareness from being reactive to predictive."
Lockheed said there are more than 200,000 objects orbiting the Earth and its radars will enhance the way the U.S. detects, catalogs and measures them to guard against potential crashes, which would add to orbiting debris.
Construction of a new U.S. Space Fence system is scheduled to start next year on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. It is expected to be operational three years later.