Lockheed Martin will continue to support the SBIRS system as the next-generation version -- the Overhead Persistent Infrared system -- is under development. Photo of SBIRS courtesy of Lockheed Martin
Oct. 3 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been awarded nearly $163.9 million for support of the space based infrared system.
The contract, awarded specifically to the company's Lockheed Martin Space division on Wednesday by the Department of Defense, covers SBIRS contractor logistics support.
The SBIRS provides early missile warning for the U.S. military through infrared surveillance. It evolved from the Defense Support Program to meet requirements of defense and intelligence communities as part of the missile defense system. It also provides battlespace awareness and technical intelligence for both communities.
"The SBIRS program consists of space segment Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellites, Highly Elliptical Orbit sensors riding on host satellites, legacy DSP satellites, and the associated world-wide deployed ground systems," according to the U.S. Air Force Space Command.
The SBIRS will eventually be replaced by the Pentagon's Next Gen Overhead Persistent Infrared satellites, which will include large GEO satellites and cheaper, smaller satellite operating in low earth orbit, the Air Force's Space and Missile System Center confirmed a couple weeks ago.
The new OPIR system is under development by Lockheed Martin, as well as subcontractors Raytheon and Northrop Grumman-Ball Aerospace, and "the program remains on track to achieve a GEO space vehicle delivery by fiscal year 2025," the Air Force said in June.
Work under the new contract will be performed at Peterson Air Force Base, Buckley Air Force Base, Greeley Air National Guard Station, all of which are in Colorado, in addition to work done in Boulder, Colo. and outside the continental United States.
The contract runs through Sept. 30, 2020.