The Air Force has awarded Lockheed Martin a $1.8 billion contract to finish building the fifth and sixth Space-Based Infrared Systems Geostationary Orbit (SBIRS GEO) satellites, the Pentagon announced late this afternoon.
Production on the missile-warning satellites is underway -- the service awarded a contract for long-lead parts in May -- and is expected to conclude in September 2022, according to the announcement. Today's contract includes options for Lockheed to provide various pre-launch testing services, on-orbit testing and operations support.
SBIRS is designed to provide the Defense Department with strategic missile warning capability through a network of satellites residing in highly elliptical orbit (HEO) and geostationary orbit. The Air Force currently operates two SBIRS GEO satellites -- the most recent of which was launched more than a year ago -- and two HEO satellites. The latter provide warning of submarine-launched ballistic missiles and the GEO satellites are responsible for the strategic warning mission.