Artist rendering of a Defense Support Program satellite in orbit. Credit: U.S. Air Force
The contract would continue to keep the Defense Support Software early-warning satellites in service.
WASHINGTON — Northrop Grumman was awarded a $222.5 million contract for technology updates to the Defense Assistance Program, a constellation of early warning satellites that was in operation since the 1970s.
The contract declared on June 26 by the Space and Missile Systems Center would include the DSP constellation and another decade of service life. Northrop Grumman will provide engineering and technical assistance until 2030.
Northrop Grumman assembled the DSP satellites and sensors that have been part of the U.S. military’s early-warning system as 1970. The satellites detect missile launches and nuclear detonations utilizing sensors that feel the heat from missile plumes against the earth background.
The DSP was launched to some United Launch Alliance Delta 4 rocket system in 2007. The newest $222.5 million deal follows a $132 million support contract given in 2015 that died in June 2020.
The Air Force doesn’t disclose how many DSP satellites are in orbit. The military’s missile-warning system was updated with the Space Based Infrared System satellites. Both Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are now under contract to create new missile-warning satellites known as Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared.