Northrop Grumman Completes Critical Design Review for Next-Gen OPIR Missile Warning Mission Payload

August 5, 2021 AZUSA, Calif.

Northrop Grumman Corporation and Ball Aerospace successfully completed the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the Next-Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared (Next-Gen OPIR).

Geosynchronous (GEO) mission payload. The completion of the Next-Gen OPIR subsystems and payload CDR meets aggressive U.S. Space Force and Lockheed Martin program objectives to ensure national security posture stays ahead of emerging global threats.

The successful CDR is a significant milestone for the Next-Gen OPIR program. With the flight design complete, the Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace team will manufacture, integrate and test the flight mission payload, which is scheduled for delivery to Lockheed Martin in 2023.

“The Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace team brings deep mission expertise in missile warning and tracking to this program,” said Scott Lee, vice president and general manager, payload and ground systems, Northrop Grumman. “Together, we’re delivering another generation of unblinking eyes in space as part of our nation’s strategic deterrence.”

As the successor to the Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS), Next-Gen OPIR will provide an improved, more resilient missile warning system to counter current and emerging threats.

The Next-Gen OPIR GEO satellites are being designed and built by Lockheed Martin. Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace are one of two teams selected by Lockheed Martin to develop a competitive payload design for the program.

“Decades of mission experience with modern agile infrared sensor development are the hallmarks of the Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace team,” said Deirdre Walsh, vice president, Strategic Operations, Ball Aerospace. “This collaborative effort has enabled us to successfully execute the critical design review of the Next-Gen OPIR GEO Block 0 mission payload – a mission critical to our nation’s security.”

In addition to developing a payload design for the Next-Gen GEO program, Northrop Grumman was selected by the Space Force to design and develop two polar-orbiting Next-Gen OPIR space vehicles.

Northrop Grumman’s legacy of space-based defense development includes the Defense Support Program (DSP) and Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) satellites that have provided a combined 60 years of critical missile warning and tracking capabilities.