The US Army has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin to provide support services for the deployment of the terminal high-altitude area defence (THAAD) weapon system.

Under the initial $25.7m contract, the company will support the limited user testing (LUT) of the THAAD system and will provide life-cycle support services including maintenance, supply support, product assurance and training.

THAAD is the missile defence system that can intercept incoming missiles in both the endo and exo-atmospheres.

A Lockheed Martin-led team, including onsite field service representatives, will work alongside the army to ensure THAAD’s operational readiness.

The US Army has installed and activated two THAAD batteries at Fort Bliss, Texas, where unit training will begin in May 2010.

As part of the Missile Defense Agency (mda) programme, THAAD has so far completed ten successful flight tests, including six successful intercepts of both unitary and separating targets.

Tests are scheduled for this year and will continue through 2011.

The nine-year contract has options that, if exercised, would take the value of the contract to $435m.