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Northrop Grumman Next Generation OPIR Polar

Next Generation OPIR Polar missile defence [Northrop Grumman press release illustration]

Northrop Grumman on track to produce Next Generation OPIR (Overhead Persistent Infrared) Polar early-warning missile defence programme.

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Press Release, Redondo Beach, 24 May 2023: Northrop Grumman Corporation recently completed a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) for the US Space Force Space Systems Command’s Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared Polar (NGP) programme. The company is on track to begin production of the early-warning missile system in defence of the nation.

The design review establishes the company’s technical approach for the full integration of the Eagle-3 spacecraft with the infrared sensor, auxiliary and high-bandwidth communication payloads being developed at our Northrop Grumman site in Azusa, Calif.

“Northrop Grumman is on an accelerated path to delivering an early-warning missile system capable of surviving attacks from space, ground or cyber elements,” said Alex Fax, vice president, NGP, Northrop Grumman. “NGP satellites will maintain a direct line of communication back to the continental United States, limiting dependency on overseas ground station sites.”

The two NGP satellites, operating in highly elliptical orbits, are designed to detect and track ballistic and hypersonic missiles over the Northern Hemisphere. Broad coverage over the polar region offers the highest probability of spotting potential missile launches.

NGP can identify the infrared heat signatures of incoming threats and transmit this mission data to the ground. Based on the threat, decision-makers can then make responsive and informed decisions. This enhanced communication system also has resiliency features that reduce vulnerabilities to counter-space and cyber-attacks.

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