Missile Warning Goes Up a Notch

US Strategic Command has certified the second on-orbit space based infrared system sensor payload, HEO-2, and its associated ground systems for operations, thereby adding significant new capability to the US missile-warning network, prime SBIRS contractor Lockheed Martin announced Wednesday. “The HEO system is delivering revolutionary new surveillance capabilities to combatant commanders,” Col. Roger Teague, commander of the SBIRS Wing at Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles, is quoted as saying in Lockheed’s release. STRATCOM’s formal certification means that HEO-2 has been demonstrated to provide “timely, accurate, and unambiguous warning data,” said Lockheed. HEO-2 joins HEO-1 which STRATCOM approved for operations last December. Lockheed announced last month that the Air Force had accepted HEO-2 for operations, leaving STRATCOM’s approval as the final step. (For more on the SBIRS family of satellites, read A Little Rain Must Fall.)