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Raytheon Intelligence & Space (RI&S) is to provide an initial prototype design for the US Space Force (USSF) Space & Missile Systems Center’s Next Generation Electro-Optical Infrared Weather Satellite, the company announced on 22 July. The system will help DoD users boost the accuracy of mission planning.

The satellite will provide DoD with Theater Weather Imaging and Cloud Characterization (TWICC) capabilities. DoD uses systems that collect and analyse Earth observations to report and predict the weather. The TWICC satellite will improve the data output from these systems, helping operators make better-informed decisions on how to execute missions.

Our system will gather all the info needed to not only build an accurate weather forecast, but to really understand what’s going on in the atmosphere – both of which are essential to planning and executing a mission,” explained Wallis Laughrey, VP of Space and C2 Systems at RI&S. “Understanding clouds and cloud movement could be used for things as simple as route planning for air-to-air refueling or to know where clouds might be covering an area of interest.”

RI&S will design TWICC in just eight months by leveraging technology and expertise from current weather systems, such as the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite and Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer. The programme will be awarded in three phases. The RI&S contract is through the initial prototype system design review. The second phase is final design review and the third will be build, integration and launch.

The new satellite will replace ageing systems such as the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program spacecraft. (Image: Lockheed Martin)

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