The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded a new contract for upgraded ballistic re-entry vehicles and separation modules for missile defence tests.
Under the deal, Lockheed Martin will be responsible for developing and manufacturing unarmed re-entry vehicles to be integrated into target missiles up until 2022.
The fixed-price $80.6m contract also includes options for the delivery of additional modified re-entry vehicles and mission support.
Lockheed Martin Space Missile Defense Programmes vice-president Sarah Reeves said: “The re-entry vehicle is essentially the bull’s eye for an interceptor missile, and it is also one of the most complex parts of the target.
“In today’s environment, it’s incredibly important to test against threat-representative targets that look like enemy missiles, and we are proud to continue to provide that capability to the MDA.”
The modified ballistic re-entry vehicles are equipped with sensors in place of warheads, which are used to measure the precision and effectiveness of the target, interceptor, and missile defence system.
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The threat-representative re-entry vehicle helps ensure the ballistic missile defence system is ready to detect and destroy enemy missiles.
Testing against a re-entry vehicle that represents threat will help ensure the ballistic missile defence system is ready to detect and destroy enemy missiles.
A Lockheed Martin team has been assigned to carry out the design works and the production of the modified re-entry vehicles in Huntsville, Alabama, US.
Subcontractors for the project include Huntsville companies Dynetics and Battelle.
As part of the project, Dynetics will be responsible for providing the aeroshell structures, while Battelle will deliver the hit detection system.
Since 1996, Lockheed Martin has supplied more than 50 threat-representative missile targets and 36 modified ballistic re-entry vehicles to the MDA.