US-based Lockheed Martin has awarded a contract to defence solution provider BAE Systems to design and produce advanced infrared (IR) seeker technology.

The IR seekers will be integrated with the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) interceptor missiles.

BAE Systems will work on the THAAD seeker technology at its Electronic Systems facilities located in Endicott of New York, Huntsville in Alabama, and Nashua in New Hampshire.

The contract seeks to support US forces and allies with key sensing and guidance capabilities to counter ballistic missiles.

An easily transportable weapon system, THAAD provides protection against incoming threats at a range of 200km and altitudes of up to 150km.

The THAAD missile intercepts both exo-atmospheric and endo-atmospheric threats.

BAE Systems Precision Guidance and Sensing Solutions director Greg Procopio said: “THAAD is a highly effective system for mitigating high-speed missile threats and we’re making it more capable.

“We’re anticipating the capabilities of tomorrow’s ballistic missiles and designing adaptable electronic systems to counter those threats.”

Once equipped with BAE’s infrared technology, THAAD interceptors will engage ballistic missiles and destroy warheads in or out of the atmosphere.

The IR seeker design is driven by BAE Systems’ specialisation in developing precision munitions and electronic warfare systems, as well as small form factor electronics.

In June this year, BAE Systems demonstrated the capability of its Robotic Technology Demonstrator (RTD) by firing an Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) laser-guided rocket.

The firing was the first for an APKWS rocket from a robotic combat vehicle (RCV). The event saw the inclusion of a human decision in the loop.