The Space Development Agency (SDA) awarded prototype agreements to L3Harris Technologies, Lockheed Martin, and Sierra Space for the production of 54 satellites as part of the Tranche 2 (T2) Tracking Layer.
The constellation aims to enhance missile warning/tracking (MW/MT) infrared sensors and missile defense capabilities, supporting the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA), stated SDA.
PWSA involves a distributed network of interconnected satellites, including the Transport Layer for communication and the Tracking Layer for tasks like missile warning, to enhance the operational capabilities of the US military.
The contracts, totaling approximately $2.5 billion, comprise awards of $919 million to L3Harris, $890 million to Lockheed Martin, and $740 million to Sierra Space. Each company will be responsible for producing and operating 18 satellites.
Each vendor will provide 16 satellites with wide-field-of-view infrared sensors and two with sophisticated infrared sensors generating “fire control-quality tracks” for precise missile interception guidance. The agreements also incorporate incentives for timely delivery.
In anticipation of the T2 Tracking Layer program award, L3Harris, having built four satellites for SDA’s T0 Tracking Layer, is set to launch them alongside the US Missile Defense Agency’s Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) satellite in early 2024.
Concurrently, L3Harris is building a 16-satellite constellation for SDA’s T1 Tracking Layer program. Simultaneously, Lockheed Martin, having been awarded contracts for over 50 satellites by SDA to date, maintains its involvement, while Sierra Space secures its first contract with the SDA.
“As missile threats increase from around the world, we fully support the proliferated space architecture the SDA is building to protect for our nation and allies,” said Michael Corriea, vice president of Warning Programs at Lockheed Martin Space.
“We’ve made a significant investment in digital and production technologies, and with our experience supporting SDA spacecraft, we’re looking forward to delivering the next level of capability,” he added.
Scheduled for 2027, the T2 Tracking Layer aims to deploy a global constellation of 270 infrared missile warning and tracking satellites integrated with the Transport Layer’s communication network in low-Earth orbit, stated SDA.