Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] submitted a proposal for the follow-on production phase of the Air Force Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) program, the company announced today.

As well, Lockheed completed a preliminary design review milestone.

SBIRS is to provide early warning of missile launches, and simultaneously support other missions including missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness.

The SBIRS follow-on program, which will complete the SBIRS constellation, will add the third and fourth highly elliptical orbit (HEO) payloads as well as the third and an option for a fourth geosynchronous orbit (GEO) spacecraft.

The proposal, submitted March 22, builds on the experience of prime contractor Lockheed and payload integrator, Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC], in providing the SBIRS development program for the Space Based Infrared Systems Wing at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.

"With the submission of the full production proposal for the SBIRS follow-on program, the joint government-industry team is another step closer to making the planned constellation of this critical system a reality," said Col. Roger Teague the Air Force SBIRS Wing Commander. "I salute the entire SBIRS team for their dedication and hard work and look forward to future mission success."

Working under an initial $370 million contract for advanced procurement phase, the team has successfully completed PDRs for the HEO & GEO payloads and systems along with critical components and subsystems. With completion of the SBIRS follow on program PDR phase, the program team will transition to the critical design review (CDR) stage, followed by the production phase.

Lockheed Martin’s current SBIRS contract includes the two HEO payloads now on-orbit, two GEO satellites, as well as ground-based assets to receive and process the infrared data. Contract award for the additional GEO spacecraft and HEO payloads is expected late this year.