Raytheon Technologies has received a $67 million contract to test the prototype weather system it designed for the US Space Force, the company announced on December 15.
The Space Force selected Raytheon to design a prototype of the Electro-Optical Infrared Weather System (EWS) in 2020 to replace the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), which has provided weather imagery observations data and cloud cover analysis for operational theaters to the military since the 1960s.
Per this add-on award, Raytheon has been tasked with delivering operational data to Space Systems Command through its prototype. The company said its system will provide greater resolution and detail, improving on the DMSP.
“We’re dramatically improving the size, weight and power of the EWS payload with the same observations as high-performing systems,” vice president of Raytheon space and command-and-control systems Paul Meyer said.
“Additionally, the team is taking advantage of technology already on-orbit as well as the satellite bus capabilities provided by Blue Canyon Technologies to rapidly deliver the system to the Space Force.”
Time Running Short
Congress directed the Air Force to replace the DMSP in 2015. As the satellites approach the end of their service, some officials have expressed concern that they may not remain operational until 2024.
Meyer highlighted the importance of the system and the seriousness of its task in delivering the technology on time: “Continuing the DMSP EO/IR capability is critical to military planning for land, sea and air operations.”
Completing its preliminary design reviews in January 2021, the company is working toward a final design review and a “down-select” in January 2022. Raytheon has assured that it can complete the system and deploy it by 2025.