Aug. 15 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Space Systems has received a $2.9 billion contract for three Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicles for the U.S. Air Force.
The contract, announced Tuesday by the Department of Defense, provides for design, development, flight hardware procurement, manufacturing and risk reduction as part of a critical design review.
Work will be performed in Sunnyvale, Calif., and is expected to be completed by April 2021. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $80 million are being obligated at the time of award.
The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Space Vehicle is designed for early warning ballistic missile launch detection.
It uses infrared sensors to detect the distinctive launch plumes of large missiles, allowing for identification and tracking of test flights and possible enemy strikes. Much of the U.S. ballistic missile detection and tracking system dates back decades and is in the process of being modernized.
The new satellites are meant to replace the legacy Space Based Infrared System.