Lockheed Martin missile early warning system declared operational

Lockheed Martin said on Tuesday that its second Space-Based Infrared System Geosynchronous Earth Orbit satellite was declared operational on Nov. 25.

The system will provide continuous early warning of ballistic missile launches and tactical intelligence. The satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in March, and performed according to requirements.

The SBIRS is able to send timely, reliable and accurate missile warning and infrared surveillance information to key decision makers, such as the president of the United States, the secretary of defense, commanders and the intelligence community.

The system supports missile defense systems, and expands the country's technical intelligence.

"The certification of GEO-2 just eight months after launch validates the performance advances we expected to start seeing as the SBIRS program moved into full production," Jeff Smith, the vice president of Lockheed Martin's Overhead Persistent Infrared mission area, said. "Our team is focused on providing the Air Force with improved affordability and resiliency, as well as evolving SBIRS to new capabilities as we exploit the unprecedented detailed data received from the system."

GEO-3 passed functional integration in the fall, and is scheduled for delivery to the Air Force in 2014. Lockheed Martin said GEO-4 also is in production stages, and it is under contract to deliver GEO-5 and GEO-6.

The SBIRS team is lead by the Space Systems Directorate at the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The system is operated by Air Force Space Command.