Lockheed Martin [LMT] said on March 1 that it has picked Raytheon Technologies

[RTX] to provide a second mission payload under the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next Gen OPIR) Geosynchronous Earth Orbit Block 0 missile warning satellite program (NGG) for the U.S. Space Force (USSF).

USSF’s Space Systems Command has contracted with Lockheed Martin to build three NGG satellites, the first of which is to launch by 2025.

The NGG Block 0 program held a system level Critical Design Review (CDR) on Oct. 28 last year (Defense Daily, Nov. 23, 2021). Last year, the program also conducted a CDR for the Lockheed Martin LM2100 “combat bus” space vehicle and CDRs for the Raytheon payload and a separate Northrop Grumman [NOC]/Ball Aerospace [BLL] payload.

“The payload designs from both competitors have completed the critical design phase and are on track to fly on the first two NGG satellites,” Lockheed Martin said on March 1. “It has yet to be determined which payload will be aboard the first NGG satellite launched in 2025.”

Lockheed Martin is to receive the payloads in 2023. The three NGG satellites are to provide advanced space-based missile warning and to be resistant to cyber attacks. The satellites are to integrate a new OPIR sensor with an enhanced LM 2100 common satellite bus.

Lockheed Martin won the non-competitive, sole-source contract worth $2.9 billion to develop the three Next-Gen OPIR GEO satellites in August 2018 and a follow-on $4.9 billion contract in January last year.

Northrop Grumman is also building two polar orbit satellites for missile warning over the northern hemisphere under Block O of Next-Gen OPIR and received a nearly $2.4 billion contract in May 2020 for early hardware procurement for the satellites.

On March 1, Northrop Grumman said that it and Ball Aerospace will develop the payloads for those two NGP satellites. Sarah Willoughby, Northrop Grumman vice president for overhead persistent infrared and geospatial systems, said in a statement that the companies’ “solution for NGP will assure continuous coverage of the northern hemisphere–especially the critical Arctic region–to protect against incoming threats.”

Next Gen OPIR is to improve upon existing Lockheed Martin Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellites by providing resilient missile warning against counter-space and emerging missile threats, including “dimmer and faster targets,” such as hypersonic missiles, Lockheed Martin has said.