Northrop Grumman has received approval from the US Air Force (USAF) Space and Missile Systems Center to begin work on the defence weather satellite system (DWSS).

The DWSS is being developed to provide crucial weather information for battlefield operations, deliverable to the warfighter quicker than current systems.

The satellite system will also provide reliable, near-real-time information about weather and environmental conditions to aviation, naval, land assets and coastal marine operations as well as provide information to protect space-based assets.

The system will render the achievements of the National polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system (NPOESS) programme.

The USAF is planning to launch the satellite in 2018.