Lockheed Martin Wins $2.9 Billion USAF Contract for Three Next-Gen OPIR Infrared Missile Warning Satellites

Lockheed Martin Space Systems has been awarded a $2.9 billion not-to-exceed undefinitized contract for three Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) geosynchronous missile warning satellites.

This undefinitized contract encompasses requirements analysis, design/development, critical path flight hardware procurement, early manufacturing, and risk reduction efforts leading to a system critical design review in support of the Next Gen OPIR program.

The contract was awarded by the U.S. Air Force Space Command’s (AFSPC) Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) located at Los Angeles Air Force Base in California. Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and evaluation funds in the amount of $80 million are being obligated at the time of award.

Work for the contract will be performed in Sunnyvale, California, and is expected to be completed by April 30, 2021.

U.S. Air Force Next-Gen OPIR Program

The U.S. Air Force announced its intention to award two sole-source contracts for the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR) program, earlier this year.

Next-Gen OPIR program will succeed the current Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) by providing improved missile warning capabilities that are more survivable against emerging threats. The SBIRS program was designed to provide key capabilities in the areas of missile warning, missile defense and battlespace characterization via satellites in geosynchronous earth orbit (GEO), sensors hosted on satellites in highly elliptical orbit (HEO), and ground-based data processing and control.

The first contract for the Next-Gen OPIR program is sole-sourced to Lockheed Martin Space to define requirements, create the initial design and identify and procure flight hardware for a satellite to operate in geosynchronous orbit. The second contract is sole-sourced to Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems to define polar system requirements.

In order to maintain space superiority over its adversaries, the Air Force implemented rapid procurement authorities and is targeting the first Next-Gen OPIR launch in 2023. This establishes an aggressive goal of cutting four years off the current procurement process and supports the service’s commitment to field new capabilities at the speed of relevance.

The Air Force is the lead agency for procuring Next-Gen OPIR satellites. The Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate at Los Angeles Air Force Base, California is the acquisition program office.

Today, the U.S. Air Force operates 77 satellites vital to national security that provide communications, command and control, missile warning, nuclear detonation detection, weather and GPS for the world.

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