General Atomics to Provide Missile Warning Payloads for Space Development Agency

General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (GA-EMS) has received a contract to supply missile warning payloads to Lockheed Martin for the Space Development Agency’s satellite constellation initiative.

The Tranche 2 Layer Program is an ongoing effort to deliver satellite prototypes supporting the Pentagon’s enhanced space-based layered defense objectives.

For the project, the company will produce electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) capabilities incorporating 16 wide-field-of-view warning/tracking sensors and two fire control and missile defense infrared payloads.

The resulting solutions will be equipped on each of the 18 satellites contracted from Lockheed earlier this year.

‘High-Performance Solutions’

GA-EMS wrote that the payloads ordered under the agreement will aid the future satellite constellation’s in-orbit mission data processing and real-time missile tracking.

These satellites will be stationed in low-Earth orbit by 2027, further bolstering the US Department of Defense’s capability to secure the country from threats such as hypersonic missiles.

“GA-EMS’ dedicated optical sensor team specializes in the design and deployment of compact, high-performance, and affordable EO/IR sensor system solutions that are ideally suited for this next-generation in missile tracking payloads,” GA-EMS Optical Sensor System Senior Director Dr. Steven Wein stated.

“Our in-house, end-to-end payload systems’ expertise is key to our ability to rapidly innovate and deliver these cost-effective, highly advanced solutions critical to our national security interests.”

“The missile warning, tracking, and defense payloads add to our expanding portfolio of high-performance surveillance and sensing assets, including our compact, 16 spectral band EO/IR weather sensors for the US Space Force’s EO/IR Weather System (EWS) satellite program.”

Tranche 2 Layer Program

The Tranche 2 Layer Program’s constellation network will comprise 54 satellites.

The platforms will be integrated with the Space Development Agency’s older satellite fleet, increasing the US government’s layered defense to 270.

Alongside Lockheed, the Pentagon tapped L3Harris and Sierra Space to complete the satellite order.

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