The U.S. Air Force signed off on Lockheed Martin’s [LMT] the newly upgraded Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) Block 10 ground system the company said Tuesday.

The company characterized the new ground system as the “nerve center” for the SBIRS satellite constellation: it collects large amounts of data from the satellites’ sensors and converts it into actionable reports for defense, intelligence, and civil applications.

Artist's concept of an SBIRS GEO spacecraft. Image: Lockheed Martin.
Artist’s concept of an SBIRS GEO spacecraft. Image: Lockheed Martin.

The Block 10 system has upgrades like faster collection time, improved threat detection, and improved target tracking and infrared information to see dimmer events faster.

The Operational Acceptance of the upgraded SBIRS ground system consolidates the Air Force’s command and control of legacy Defense Support Program satellites, SBIRS geosynchronous Earth orbit satellites, and highly elliptical orbit payloads into the same ground system, Lockheed Martin said.

The company also highlighted Block 10 further improves cueing data for missile defense systems; allows for command, control, and mission planning of taskable sensors; and real-time and offline raw sensor data processing for technical intelligence used by the intelligence community

“With the Block 10 upgrade, the mission-critical data supplied by SBIRS is now being managed from a single ground control station, which is not only cost-efficient, but also more effective in providing our Air Force operators with the ability to characterize threats and quickly provide that information to military commanders deployed around the globe,” David Sheridan, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s Overhead Persistent Infrared Systems mission area, said in a statement.

With the ground system deployed, Lockheed Martin will provide ongoing operations and sustainment support while also continuing to enhance it through further cybersecurity capabilities, automation features, and continued evolution that supports Air Force requirements. The system currently supports missile warning, missile defense, battlespace awareness, technical intelligence, and distributes raw and processed data to support civil and emerging applications.

The latest SBIRS Block 10 ground system is at SBIRS Mission Control Station at Buckley AFB, Colo. it replaces the existing ground segment, which had been in operation since 2001.

The SBIRS development team is led by the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center’s Remote Sensing Systems Directorate. Northrop Grumman [NOC] is the payload integrator for the program while the 460th Space Wing at Buckley operates it.