Home Air US Air Force awards $2.3bn missile warning satellite contract

US Air Force awards $2.3bn missile warning satellite contract

GEO satellites
US Air Force file photo

The US Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded Northrop Grumman $2.37 billion contract for next generation overhead persistent infrared polar space vehicles 1 and 2.

This modification adds phase one for design/development, critical path flight hardware procurement, and risk reduction efforts leading to a critical design review to the basic contract.

The contract award comes after the next generation OPIR geosynchronous earth orbiting (GEO) satellite program passed the preliminary design review in September 2019.

Next Generation OPIR will provide a defensible space-based global missile warning capability against emerging threats.

The first block of the new constellation will include five satellites, three of which will be in geosynchronous orbit and two will be in polar orbit. Lockheed Martin will deliver the satellites for the geosynchronous orbit, while Northrop Grumman will deliver polar orbit satellites.

Nothrop Grumman is expected to complete work under the contract by December 2025.

The Air Force itself anticipates the launch of the first NGG satellite by 2025.

“NGG is a critical piece of our missile warning architecture that will deliver a capable, defensible system to counter determined adversaries,” Col. Dennis Bythewood, the Space and Missile Systems Center’s program executive officer for space development, said in September 2019. “While the program acceleration to meet this threat head-on created a near-term funding shortfall, Congress’s support of the DoD’s $161 million reprogramming request has kept the program on-track and I am confident we will close the remaining shortfall in FY20 to enable delivery of our first satellite in 2025.”