Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC) have received $1.5 billion in prototype agreements from the Space Development Agency to develop and operate 72 Beta satellites for the second tranche of the Proliferated Warfighter Space Architecture’s transport layer.
SDA said Monday the PWSA Tranche 1 Transport Layer Beta prototype satellites are expected to begin launching by September 2026 to deliver communications access and persistent encrypted connectivity to support beyond line-of-sight targeting, missile warning and tracking operations and other warfighter missions worldwide and serve as the space backbone for the Joint All Domain Command and Control infrastructure.
“Tranche 2 brings global persistence for all our capabilities in Tranche 1 and adds advanced tactical data links and future proliferated missions,” said Derek Tournear, director of SDA and a previous Wash100 Award winner.
The 72 Beta satellites for T2TL will be divided into three orbital planes and each vendor will build a prototype constellation of 36 satellites.
“The Beta variant of the Tranche 2 Transport Layer vehicles are similar to Tranche 1 Transport Layer vehicles while also integrating advanced tactical communication technology demonstrated by the Tranche 1 Development and Experimentation System (T1DES),” added Tournear.
Lockheed and Northrop are each building 42 satellites for the T1TL program under prototype agreements that SDA awarded in February 2022.
In June, SDA issued a solicitation for proposals to build the Alpha spacecraft variant for the PWSA T2TL program.
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