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space defense

L3Harris, SpaceX Book $343M in Contracts to Build Missile-Tracking Satellites for Defense Architecture

The Space Development Agency has awarded L3Harris Technologies (NYSE: LHX) and SpaceX firm-fixed-price contracts worth $342.8M combined to each provide four satellites that will comprise the “tracking layer” of a proposed space defense architecture.

L3Harris secured a $193.6M contract while SpaceX received a $149.2M award to deliver their respective spacecraft and optical wide field of view systems for the Tracking Layer Tranche 0 effort, the Department of Defense said Monday.

According to DoD News, L3Harris and SpaceX will construct overhead persistent infrared imaging space vehicles that will operate as part of the National Defense Space Architecture.

SDA will obligate fiscal 2020 defense-wide research, development, test and evaluation funds for both awards.

Contract work will take place in various U.S. locations. All eight satellites must be ready for launch by the end of fiscal year 2022.

Derek Tournear, director of SDA, told DoD News that the OPIR satellites will track hypersonic missiles and directly communicate with satellites in NDSA’s transport layer through laser communications technology.

NDSA’s Tranche 0 is envisioned to have eight satellites in the tracking layer and 28 in the transport layer, according to Tournear.

"With Tranche 0 in 2022, we will provide enough capability to where people can start to experiment with what those data could do, and figure out how they could put that into their operational plans for battle," he said.

Last month, SDA awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and York Space Systems contracts totaling $281.5M to each build 10 satellites for NDSA’s transport layer.

SDA plans to issue a separate launch-services solicitation for the 28 satellites ahead of Tranche 1 and 2's establishment in 2024 and 2026, respectively.

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