The Air Force Adds Eyes in the Sky With More Anti-Missile Satellites

An Air Force helicopter flies by as an Atlas V rocket carrying a Space Based Infrared System GEO-2 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, on March 21, 2013

U.S. Air Force photo/Lt. Col. Robert Haston

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An Air Force helicopter flies by as an Atlas V rocket carrying a Space Based Infrared System GEO-2 rocket launches from Cape Canaveral, on March 21, 2013

Lockheed Martin picks up a nearly $2 billion contract, adding to the Space Based Infrared System tracking ballistic missile launches across the globe. By Global Security Newswire

The U.S. Air Force has awarded a $1.86 billion contract to Lockheed Martin to complete production work on two more missile-defense satellites.

The satellites, GEO-5 and GEO-6, will eventually join a constellation of military satellites known as the Space Based Infrared System, which is used to give the U.S. military around-the-clock intelligence about ballistic missile launches, according to a Tuesday company press release.

The antimissile satellite network “provides capabilities critical to our nation’s defense but we also understand in today’s environment that we need to find that perfect balance between capability and affordability,” Jeffrey Smith, Lockheed’s vice president for the Overhead Persistent Infrared division, said in provided comments.

The GEO-1 and GEO-2 satellites are already operational “and have performance that matches, and in some cases exceeds, requirements,” according to Lockheed. The third satellite in the Space Based Infrared System is slated to be delivered by year’s end, and the fourth satellite is in the final assembly, integration and testing phase.

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