U.S. Places $695M Missile Defense Order

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has placed an order for $694.9 million worth of Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense technology, including new interceptors and launch units, defense contractor Lockheed Martin said on Wednesday (see GSN, March 23).

The contract calls for delivery to the U.S. Army's third and fourth THAAD batteries of 48 interceptors, six launchers, four fire control systems and other supporting technology. The Army is to receive the new THAAD systems in 2013.

There is also a $94.8 million option for additional THAAD launchers that would bring the contract to $789.8 million.

The THAAD system would be used to destroy incoming ballistic missiles in their end phase of flight, both inside and outside of the Earth's atmopshere. The technology has undergone 11 launch trials since 2005, and intercepted targets in seven out of seven attempts, according to a Lockheed Martin press release.

Two THAAD batteries are already operational at Fort Bliss in Texas (Lockheed Martin release, March 30).

Meanwhile, defense firm Raytheon has been awarded a $313 million MDA contract for continued development of the Standard Missile 3 Block 1B interceptor, the Arizona Daily Star reported on Thursday (see GSN, Feb. 14).

The funding will allow completion of development for the advanced missile interceptor, which is to be an important component of the U.S. plan to establish a missile shield in Europe. Raytheon SM-3 program director Wes Kremer said the contract also orders delivery of 24 experimental missile interceptors.

An initial flight trial of the next-generation interceptor is slated for late summer, Kremer said.

The contract is to be wrapped up in June 2013.

Raytheon was recently awarded another MDA contract worth $75 million for engineering work on the SM-3 Block 1B.

Agency officials, however, reduced their SM-3 Block 1A missile order with the Tucson-headquartered company from 24 interceptors to 18 for an end-contract worth of $158 million. That order is expected to be completed by the end of next April (David Wichner, Arizona Daily Star, March 31).

March 31, 2011
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The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has placed an order for $694.9 million worth of Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense technology, including new interceptors and launch units, defense contractor Lockheed Martin said on Wednesday (see GSN, March 23).