USAF accepts Lockheed Martin's SBIRS Block 10 ground system


The US Air Force (USAF) has accepted Lockheed Martin's newly upgraded space-based infrared system (SBIRS) Block 10 ground system, designed to support missile warning, missile defence, battlespace awareness, and technical intelligence.

The SBIRS is a key component of the USAF's constellation, which is responsible for collecting data from the satellite's sensors and converting it into actionable reports for defence, intelligence and civil applications.

The Block 10 upgrades to the system include faster collection times, improved threat detections and improved target tracking and infrared information to see dimmer events faster.

"SBIRS Block 10 improves cueing data for missile defence systems and allows for command, control and mission planning of taskable sensors."

The ground system consolidates Defense Support Programme, SBIRS highly elliptical orbit, and SBIRS geosynchronous earth orbit satellite ground systems from three locations into one primary location and a backup, the USAF said in a statement.

Lockheed Martin Overhead Persistent Infrared Systems mission area vice-president David Sheridan said: "With the Block 10 upgrade, the mission-critical data supplied by SBIRS is now being managed from a single ground control station, which is not only cost-efficient, but also more effective in providing our Air Force operators with the ability to characterise threats and quickly provide that information to military commanders deployed around the globe."

According to the company, SBIRS Block 10 improves cueing data for missile defence systems and allows for command, control and mission planning of taskable sensors.

The system also supports real-time and offline raw sensor data processing for technical intelligence used by the intelligence community.

Located at the SBIRS Mission Control Station at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado, the upgraded ground system replaces the existing ground segment, which has been in operation since 2001.