Lockheed Martin Wins $4.9B US Space Force Geosynchronous Satellites Contract

Lockheed Martin Wins $4.9B US Space Force Geosynchronous Satellites Contract

Photo courtesy: Lockheed Martin via Flickr

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has awarded Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT) a $4.9 billion contract to produce three geosynchronous satellites, SpaceNews reports.

What Happened: DoD’s contract is for U.S. Space Force. The geosynchronous Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (OPIR) satellites will provide initial warning of a ballistic or tactical missile launch anywhere on the globe.

The Space Force is acquiring five OPIR satellites - three from Lockheed and two from Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC).

The new contract is for manufacturing, assembly, integration, testing, and delivery by May 2028 and covers ground system software and systems engineering.

Why It Matters: The vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and former head of U.S. Strategic Command, Gen. John Hyten, had criticized the current Space-Based Infrared System program and called the satellites “juicy targets” for the enemy anti-satellite weapons. 

The Next-gen OPIR spacecraft have more powerful sensors and other features that make them more resilient against attacks than current satellites, as per Space News.

Lockheed Martin’s vice president for overhead persistent infrared systems, Tom McCormick, said that a program of this size has “never moved this fast.”

Separately, DoD has put approving Lockheed’s $398 billion program of full-rate production of F-35 on hold, citing combat-testing delays since 2017, Bloomberg reported.

President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will need all the information before approving the lucrative contract for Lockheed, which could take months.

Price Action: LMT shares fell 2.91% to $344.64 on Monday.

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