FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne satellite technology company secured a $700 million contract on Monday.

The money will be used to build the Space Development Agency’s (SDA) Tranche 1 Tracking Layer satellite program to serve as “eyes in the sky” detecting, identifying, and tracking advanced missile threats.

L3Harris will build a 14-vehicle satellite constellation that will include optical communications terminals, infrared mission payloads, Ka-band communications payloads, and multiple pointing modes – advanced technology specifically designed to identify and track the fastest missiles known to exist. The program also includes related ground, operations, and sustainment support.

This program follows a space demonstration the company is currently working on and some prior study programs where they are leveraging similar technology used for weather monitoring from space. They have been involved off and on with defense programs for four years.

The SDA has a few pillars the company needs to achieve, which includes the rapid development of these 14 space vehicles. They need to be delivered in 34 months, which is a short timeframe in the space world.

L3Harris is best known for their weather satellites and they expect both the civil and defense programs to fit together seamlessly. The technology and development teams should have no problem adapting to both programs. The only adjustment will be the integration of the needs of the customers for both programs; the defense program is much more fast-paced than the civil program. However, both missions are of crucial national importance. The civil program protects lives and property from severe weather. The defense program protects lives and personal property, as well as protects the sovereignty of our nation.

Rob Mitrevski, Vice President and General Manager of L3Harris Space Systems, says this is the first time missiles will be tracked from space to this degree. The new technology will allow for the warning and tracking of advanced missile threats, including ballistic and hypersonic missiles. The ability to track the dim and maneuverable hypersonic missiles is especially crucial to public safety.

The goal is for the nation to stay ahead of the threat. When deployed, the capability of detection in terms of global coverage, the ability to see threats, and the information provided to mitigate threats will be unprecedented.

For L3Harris, the work is a great milestone for the company. It sets up the company well to build off of their 60 year heritage of satellite technology development by having both the civil and defense sectors. For the community, it means job opportunities and a greater sense of public safety.

To learn more, you can view the full press release on L3Harris’s website here.