The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded a $459m contract modification for the development and delivery of interceptors for the terminal high altitude area defence (THAAD) weapon system.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will supply the interceptors with support for the US Army THAAD units and increasing operational requirements.

The original $528m interceptor production and supply contract was awarded to the company in December 2015.

The current modification takes the total contract value to $1.28bn with funding offered last year and this year.

THAAD is a major element of the ballistic missile defence system (BMDS) and is used for protecting the military, allied forces, population centres and critical infrastructure of the US from ballistic missile attacks.

“THAAD interceptors defeat dangerous missile threats our troops and allies are facing today, and have capability against advancing future threats.”

Lockheed Martin’s advanced ‘hit-to-kill’ technology is featured on the THAAD weapon system. It is rapidly deployable, mobile and interoperable with all other BMDS elements, such as Patriot / PAC-3, Aegis, forward-based sensors, and the command, control, battle management and communications system.

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Lockheed Martin THAAD system vice-president Richard McDaniel said: “The THAAD system’s capability and reliability have been demonstrated with 15 out of 15 hit-to-kill intercepts dating back to 1999, and by exceeding readiness rates currently being experienced in the field with operationally deployed batteries.

“THAAD interceptors defeat dangerous missile threats our troops and allies are facing today, and have capability against advancing future threats. Our focus on affordability, coupled with efficiencies of increased volume, is providing significant cost-savings opportunities to meet growing demand from the US and allies around the globe.”

In December 2016, the US Army activated the seventh THAAD battery. In September last year, the company delivered the 200th THAAD interceptor.