Lockheed Martin, L3 Harris to Build Space Development Agency Tranche 2 Satellites

Tranche 2 Tracking Layer aims to enhance global missile threat detection, warning, tracking, and identification, including hypersonic systems.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 07:28 AM, January 17, 2024
  • 595
Lockheed Martin, L3 Harris to Build Space Development Agency Tranche 2 Satellites

Lockheed Martin and L3Harris Technologies have collectively secured contracts totaling nearly $1.8 billion from the Space Development Agency (SDA) for the Tranche 2 Tracking Layer constellation, which aims to bolster global missile threat detection, warning, tracking, and identification, including addressing the challenges posed by hypersonic systems.

Under an $890 million contract awarded to Lockheed Martin, the company will be responsible for constructing 18 space vehicles for the Tranche 2 Tracking Layer constellation. This includes 16 missile warning/tracking space vehicles equipped with infrared sensors and two space vehicles featuring missile defense infrared sensors.

Lockheed Martin plans to leverage its SmartSat software platform to enhance mission flexibility, utilizing a Terran Orbital bus and General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems - Optical Sensor Systems' infrared missile tracking payload for each satellite. The assembly, integration, and testing will take place at Lockheed Martin's Colorado-based small satellite processing facility.

Additionally, the company's Horizon Command & Control and Compass Mission Planning software will play crucial roles in facilitating critical mission capabilities.

Simultaneously, L3Harris Technologies has secured a contract with a potential value of up to $919 million for designing and building 18 infrared space vehicles for the SDA’s Tranche 2 Tracking Layer program. The primary objective of this program is to provide near-global missile warning and tracking coverage.

L3Harris has developed missile defense solutions to support the U.S. military’s efforts in countering the new generation of hypersonic weapons, characterized by increased speed, unpredictable flight trajectories, and faint heat signatures. The technology developed by L3Harris will not only contribute to the Tranche 2 Tracking Layer program but also support preliminary fire control capability for the SDA’s Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture (PWSA).

In anticipation of the Tranche 2 Tracking Layer program, L3Harris has previously designed, developed, and built four satellites in less than three years for the SDA’s Tranche 0 (T0) Tracking Layer program. These T0 satellites are scheduled to launch alongside the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s Hypersonic and Ballistic Tracking Space Sensor (HBTSS) satellite in early 2024.

This joint deployment will enable the Department of Defense to concurrently warn, track, and target advanced threats. Furthermore, L3Harris is concurrently working on a 16-vehicle satellite constellation for SDA’s Tranche 1 Tracking Layer program, enhancing technology, expanding coverage, integrating capabilities, and increasing production efficiencies. This constellation will contribute to building out the operational space-based constellation and inform future capabilities of the PWSA.

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