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Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman to Deliver 72 Small Satellites to Space Development Agency

Our Bureau - : Aug 25, 2023 - : 1:38 am

The Space Development Agency (SDA) has awarded awarded contracts worth US$1.5 billion to Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin to build and operate 72 Tranche 2 Transport Layer (T2TL) Beta satellites.

The Space Development Agency (SDA), an organization under the U.S. Space Force, is building a network of military satellites in low Earth orbit. Lockheed Martin’s contract, worth approximately US$816 million, involves building 36 satellites. Northrop Grumman’s contract for 36 satellites is worth approximately $733 million.

The 72 satellites will make up a portion of SDA’s network known as Tranche 2 Transport Layer. SDA is building a large constellation called the proliferated warfighter space architecture that includes a Transport Layer of interconnected communications satellites and a Tracking Layer of missile-detection and warning sensor satellites.

T2TL is part of an overarching plan to strengthen deterrence with more resilient space architectures for beyond line-of-sight (BLOS) targeting, data transport, and advanced missile detection and tracking.

The T2TL Beta variant satellites will work in tandem with SDA’s Tranche 1 and Tranche 2 networks. They will advance the initial warfighting capability with targeted technology enhancements, mission-focused payload configurations, and increased integration.

“We are now solidly in the procurement phase for Tranche 2 of the PWSA [proliferated warfighter space architecture] to support a 2026 delivery,” said Derek Tournear, SDA director. “Tranche 2 brings global persistence for all our capabilities in Tranche 1 and adds advanced tactical data links and future proliferated missions.”

“Tranche 2 will significantly enhance our warfighters’ capabilities and establish new levels of resiliency, connectivity, and orbital diversity that are necessary for countering future threats,” said Joe Rickers, Lockheed Martin’s vice president for Protected Communications. “SDA’s unique acquisition approach expedites the proliferation of this critical technology, and Lockheed Martin’s strategic partnerships with a network of suppliers and small businesses will ensure we’re aligned with SDA’s strategy for accelerated delivery.”


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