HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Lockheed Martin has received a $308 million contract modification for the production of PAC-3 missiles from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command. In addition to that windfall Lockheed officials met Monday for a digital conference to discuss weapons systems advancement over the past fifty years and what’s expected on the horizon.
Lockheed officials briefed reporters and global military personnel via phone updating participants on the status of several weapons systems including Aegis BMD, MEADS and PAC-3, while also looking back at trails Lockheed has blazed. They are, after all, the developer of the first operational hit-to-kill missile.
“Hit-to-kill technology remains today the heart and foundation of several of the weapons systems employed by the missile defense agency,” explains THAAD program director Mathew Joyce. Joyce says the first Pacific interception of an intercontinental ballistic missile in the mid 80′s laid the foundation for missile defense in the U.S.
“Taking that from a concept to an actual weapons system and to see it actually be developed and now in the field defending our country and our allies – it’s just an exciting thing to be a part of.”
Joyce says one of the most integral partnerships exists among the actual war fighters in the field.
“They push us, they really do,” says Joyce. “They get an in-depth understanding of how our weapons systems work and then they push us asking ‘why can’t you do this, why can’t you do that?’, and if you listen well enough you can improve.”
And improve they have, says Joyce. He says the level of accuracy and ability to successfully replicate defense systems has come quite a long way over the past half-century.
“That would have been unthinkable 30 years ago, and we’ve made it – I don’t want to say routine – but understandable and there are next generation things out there that yes, will blow your mind.”
In addition to Fiscal Year 2013 missile and command launch system production for the U.S. Army, the contract marks the first Foreign Military Sale of the PAC-3 Missile to Kuwait. Kuwait is the sixth international customer for the PAC-3 Missile.
The contract includes production of 244 hit-to-kill PAC-3 Missiles, 72 launcher modification kits and associated tooling, as well as program management. This is the 14th production buy of the PAC-3 Missile Segment by the U.S. government.
“Kuwait’s purchase of PAC-3 Missiles will provide its defense forces with a superior air and missile defense capability,” said Richard McDaniel, vice president of PAC-3 Missile programs at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “This is another example of the growing global interest for the PAC-3 Missile’s capabilities.”
In 2009, Taiwan became the fifth international customer for the PAC-3 Missile, joining the Netherlands, Germany, Japan and the United Arab Emirates in fielding the system.
Production will take place at Lockheed Martin’s manufacturing facilities in Dallas and Lufkin, Texas; Chelmsford, Mass.; Ocala, Fla.; and Camden, Ark. Deliveries will begin in 2014.
Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor on the PAC-3 Missile Segment upgrade to the PATRIOT air defense system. The PAC-3 Missile Segment consists of the PAC-3 Missile, a highly agile hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 Missile canisters (each of which hold four PAC-3 Missiles, with four canisters per launcher), a fire solution computer and an enhanced launcher electronics system and launcher support hardware.
Lockheed Martin is a world leader in systems integration and the development of air and missile defense systems and technologies, including the first operational hit-to-kill missile. It also has considerable experience in missile design and production, infrared seekers, command and control/battle management, and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as radar and signal processing. The company makes significant contributions to all major U.S. missile defense systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control is a 2012 recipient of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for performance excellence. The Malcolm Baldrige Award represents the highest honor that can be awarded to American companies for their achievements in leadership, strategic planning, customer relations, measurement, analysis, workforce excellence, operations and results.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation’s net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.