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Planning for Next SBIRS Phase: Lockheed Martin says it has submitted its proposal for the next set of space based infrared system (SBIRS) early warning spacecraft to the Air Force and has completed the preliminary design review for them. According to an April 9 release, the company turned in the proposal on March 22. It covers the third and fourth highly elliptical orbit-3 (HEO-3) and HEO-4 payloads, which reside on classified host satellites, and a third SBIRS geosynchronous orbit-3 (GEO-3) satellite, and the option for GEO-4. “With the submission of the full production proposal for the SBIRS follow-on program, the joint government-industry team is another step closer to making the planned constellation of this critical system a reality," said Col. Roger Teague, commander of the Air Force’s SBIRS Wing. Lockheed, which works with payload integrator Northrop Grumman on SBIRS, said it expects the awards for the contract award for the additional HEO and GEO spacecraft in late 2009. In addition to this next set of SBIRS hardware, the Air Force has already expressed its interest in acquiring a fifth and sixth GEO satellite.