Millennium wins ‘FOO Fighter’ contract for SDA missile tracking

Millennium wins ‘FOO Fighter’ contract for SDA missile tracking

The Space Development Agency selected Millennium Space Systems to build eight satellites carrying advanced missile tracking sensors, part of an experiment aimed at improving SDA’s ability to target threats from space.

The company, a Boeing subsidiary, received a $414 million contract for the Fire Control On-Orbit Support to the Warfighter, or FOO Fighter, program. SDA plans to launch the satellites in the fall or winter of 2026.

“The FOO Fighter program will provide an operational demonstration of fire control efforts separate from, but complementary to, our missile warning/missile tracking and missile defense efforts already underway in the tranches,” SDA Director Derek Tournear said in an April 30 statement.

SDA was established in 2019 to quickly field a constellation of hundreds of data transport and missile tracking satellites in low Earth orbit, about 1,200 miles above the Earth’s atmosphere. The agency’s plan is to field those spacecraft in tranches, adding more capabilities every two years.

The organization launched its Tranche 0 satellites last year, and the fire control capabilities these eight FOO Fighter satellites will demonstrate are targeted for the third and fourth tranches. The spacecraft — equipped with electro-optical infrared sensors — will showcase the ability to send precise targeting information to missile defense interceptors.

“[Foo Fighter] accelerates the U.S. government’s ability to provide fire-control in support of global detection, warning and precision tracking of advanced threats, including hypersonic missile systems,” Millennium said in a statement. “It will demonstrate advanced missile defense capability by incorporating fire control-quality sensors into a prototype constellation.”

Northrop Grumman, SpaceX and Sierra Space have received contracts for the agency’s first three tranches of missile tracking satellites, but this award is Millennium’s first in support of SDA’s proliferated satellite architecture.

The company, whose focus is on quickly developing small satellites, has been a player in a separate Space Force effort to put a fleet of missile tracking satellites in medium Earth orbit, between 1,200 and 2,200 miles above planet.

Boeing said in a statement that the award positions Millennium as a key provider for future SDA capabilities and taps into the company’s military space heritage.

“The FOO Fighter program is a pathfinder in pushing the right mix of innovation, capability and pace for our most critical of customer requirements,” said Kay Sears, vice president of Boeing’s space, intelligence and weapon systems business.

Courtney Albon is C4ISRNET’s space and emerging technology reporter. She has covered the U.S. military since 2012, with a focus on the Air Force and Space Force. She has reported on some of the Defense Department’s most significant acquisition, budget and policy challenges.

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