WASHINGTON — L-3’s Coleman Aerospace division of Orlando, Fla., corralled a $74 million contract from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to develop and manufacture medium-range ballistic missile targets, according to an Oct. 30 announcement from the Pentagon.

The MDA announced in January 2012 it planned to award a single contract for six ground- and air-launched target vehicles. The targets will have a range of 2,000 kilometers and be capable of carrying 600-kilogram payloads, according to a notice on the Federal Business Opportunities website. 

The work is expected to be performed in Cape Canaveral, Fla., and completed by September 2018, the Oct. 30 announcement said.

L-3 beat out three other companies for the program, the release said, without naming the other three. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Sunnyvale, Calif., announced in June 2012 it had bid on the project. Orbital Sciences Corp. has also supplied target missiles to the MDA.

L-3 Coleman was suspended for one year from MDA contract work after an ignition failure on one of its air-launched target vehicles marred a planned December 2010 test of the Theater High Altitude Area Defense System. Coleman subsequently modified that product, which flew successfully in a nonintercept test in 2011.

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Mike Gruss is a senior staff writer for SpaceNews. He joined the publication in January 2013 to cover military space. Previously, he worked as a reporter and columnist for The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. and The Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne, Ind. He...