The Air Force has awarded a $743-million contract to TRW for the Defense Support Program, a satellite system designed to detect and provide early warning in the event that intercontinental nuclear missiles are launched at targets in the United States, the company announced Thursday.
The contract covers production of five satellites over a six-year period. TRW, headquartered in Cleveland, said the price would normally cover the cost of four satellites, but that the government was able to obtain an additional satellite at effectively no extra cost because it placed a multiyear order.
TRW has been producing the DSP satellites in Redondo Beach since the late 1960s. Recent models have featured increased capability and uninterrupted coverage of key missile sites.
The satellites, which operate in geosynchronous orbit 22,500 miles above Earth, use infrared sensors attached to powerful telescopes. They scan large regions of the Soviet Union and the oceans to detect the heat generated by exhaust plumes as rockets are launched.