Lockheed and Northrop will build 72 data transport satellites for SDA

By Apurva Minchekar / August 21, 2023 at 2:00 PM

The Space Development Agency awarded $1.5 billion to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to build 72 Tranche 2 Transport Layer- Beta variant satellites scheduled to launch in September 2026, according to an announcement by SDA today.

“We are now solidly in the procurement phase for Tranche 2 of the [Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture] to support a 2026 delivery,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said.

“The Beta variant of the Tranche 2 Transport Layer vehicles are similar to Tranche 1 Transport Layer vehicles while also integrating advanced tactical communication technology demonstrated by the Tranche 1 Development and Experimentation System,” he said.

The agency awarded $816 million to Lockheed Martin, while Northrop received $733 million to build 36 data transport satellites each.

Lockheed is also scheduled to launch 10 Tranche 0 Transport Layer satellites in 2023 and 42 Tranche 1 satellites which are scheduled to launch in 2024, are in production and on track, according to Lockheed’s announcement.

Additionally, Northrop said that the company is progressing to launch its first Tranche 1 Transport Layer satellites in the fourth quarter of 2024.

A part of SDA’s PWSA, T2TL will be responsible “to provide global communication access and deliver persistent global encrypted connectivity to support missions like beyond line of sight targeting and missile warning and missile tracking of advance missile threats,” the agency said.