The US Army Contracting Command has awarded a $561.8m contract to Lockheed Martin for the production of Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles.

Under the two-year contract, Lockheed Martin will supply the ATACMS missile systems for the US Army and foreign military sales customers that include Bahrain, Poland and Romania.

The contract includes new ATACMS rounds, as well as upgrading several previous-variant ATACMS as part of the Service Life Extension Program (SLEP III).

The contract has an estimated completion date of 30 June 2022.

Lockheed Martin will manufacture the SLEP and new ATACMS rounds at its precision fires production centre of excellence in Camden, Arkansas, US.

The Camden manufacturing facility shipped the first ATACMS to the US Army in August 2017. Lockheed Martin also received the first production contract for modernised ATACMS missiles at the time.

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control precision fires and combat maneuver systems vice-president Gaylia Campbell said: “The new-build ATACMS rounds under this contract will include sensor technology that provides the recently qualified height-of-burst capability. This new feature will allow soldiers to address area targets at depth on the battlefield.”

Recently, the company announced a $142m investment to expand its Camden manufacturing facilities to include the capability to produce ATACMS and other upcoming missiles.

“This new feature will allow soldiers to address area targets at depth on the battlefield.”

The investment will help the company meet the growing demand for ATACMS.

Packaged in a launch pod that resembles multiple launch rocket system (MLRS), the ATACMS is a conventional surface-to-surface artillery weapon system that can be fired from the MLRS M270 and M270A1 weapons platform.

ATACMS offers greater strike range than the existing army cannons, rockets and other missiles, Lockheed stated.

Under the SLEP, existing ATACMS missiles are refurbished for increased shelf life.

The upgrade involves disassembling and demilitarising Block 1 and 1A warheads and replacing them with new unitary warheads.