American satellite manufacturer Northrop Grumman received an awaited order for two polar orbit Next-Gen OPIR satellites on 18 May. The contract is valued at US$2.37 billion. The Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-gen OPIR) satellites will provide continuation of US missile launch detection capabilities. This is currently provided by the in-orbit SBIRS satellites. The new satellites are planned to be launched in 2027-29.
The order is for two satellites to be placed into a polar orbit. These will work alongside the three geosynchronous satellites being built by Lockheed Martin. Lockheed and Northrop have been instructed to outsource the development and production of the primary sensor payload to the industry. The companies competing for this work are Raytheon and a joint Northrop Grumman-Ball Aerospace team.