The Area Improvement Company has added one other batch of missile-tracking satellites to its expansive constellation, awarding Raytheon a $250 million contract March 2 to construct seven spacecraft.
These satellites will be a part of 28 others already ordered in SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Area Structure. Contracts for the primary 28 had been awarded in July, break up evenly between L3Harris and Northrop Grumman Strategic Area Programs.
The 35 satellites now deliberate make up Tranche 1 of the Monitoring Layer; extra funds appropriated by Congress made the enlargement potential, stated company spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea, calling the Raytheon satellites because the tranche’s “fifth orbital aircraft.”
“This fifth aircraft award provides sensor range to our T1 Monitoring constellation and achieved a value level of roughly $40 million per [satellite],” Elzea stated. The Raytheon value was lower than these of L3Harris and Northrop Grumman.
The additional satellites will launch in late 2025, Elzea stated; the opposite Tranche 1 Monitoring Layer satellites are to start launching in April 2025, an accelerated timeline additionally due to added funding from Congress. Beforehand, the satellites had been deliberate for launch in 2026.
The Monitoring Layer is designed to extend the Pentagon’s capability to detect and observe missile launches and flights, specifically hypersonic missiles.
“Creating a resilient and reasonably priced proliferated satellite tv for pc constellation in low-Earth orbit will enhance our skill to trace rising threats like hypersonic missiles,” Dave Broadbent, president of Area & C2 at Raytheon Intelligence & Area, stated in an announcement. “Persevering with to develop this structure with SDA and our business companions might be a excessive precedence for us within the coming months.”
Raytheon was one of many preliminary bidders for Tranche 0 of the Monitoring Layer however misplaced out to L3Harris and SpaceX, who had been chosen to construct 4 satellites every. Raytheon protested however misplaced.
That is the primary time Raytheon has been chosen to contribute any satellites to the PWSA—York Area Programs, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, and L3Harris are all constructing satellites as a part of Tranche 0 and Tranche 1 of the Monitoring Layer and Transport Layer.
SDA director Derek M. Tournear needs to keep away from vendor lock by spreading contracts amongst corporations, maximizing competitors in every tranche. His purpose is to launch new tranches each two years, thereby repeatedly upgrading capabilities within the proliferated satellite tv for pc constellation.
The very first Tranche 0 launches, delayed to date due high “cautious evaluation and … enter” from contractors, is now scheduled for launch this month. Tranche 0 contains 28 satellites—20 within the Transport Layer, chargeable for communications and information transmission, and eight within the Monitoring Layer, chargeable for missile monitoring and warning. Tranche 1 will embrace a deliberate 126 satellites within the Transport Layer and 35 within the Monitoring Layer, plus others for experimentation.