Funding completion of the fifth and sixth satellites in the SBIRS system, it will also fund completion the associated ground operations and processing updates.
SBIRS is a new U.S. strategic missile warning system that replaced the 1970s Defense Support Program satellites. It includes a mix of satellites in geostationary (GEO) orbit, sensors on other satellites in highly elliptical orbit, and ground hardware and software.
The contract, announced in the Pentagon's daily digest of major contract awards, runs through Sept. 30, 2022, and comes on top of advanced procurement funding awarded to Lockheed in 2012 and 2013 to start buying parts that take a long time to order. The first two GEO satellites started operations in 2013. The third GEO satellite is in testing and the fourth is in final assembly, Lockheed said.
U.S. Air Force Space Command's Space and Missile Systems Center said the contract award saved over $1 billion as a result of a block-buy contracting approach and production and management efficiencies: "We eliminated unnecessary layers of program oversight and contract reporting, restructured our test program and streamlined the production schedules," Colonel Mike Guetlein, production program manager, said in a statement.