The U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded Raytheon Missile Systems of Tucson, Ariz., a second contract, this one worth as much as $350 million, to buy materials for as many as 44 Standard Missile (SM)-3 Block 1B interceptors, according to a March 5 announcement from the Pentagon.

The March 5 announcement follows a January announcement that the MDA had awarded Raytheon a $156 million sole-source contract to buy the materials needed for eight SM-3 Block 1B interceptors. Because the federal government at the time was operating under a continuing resolution that funded activities at 2013 levels, the award was for a limited number of missiles. The new contract will ensure that Raytheon can buy enough material for 44 interceptors. 

MDA budget documents indicate that the agency plans to buy 52 SM-3 Block 1B missiles in 2014 and 72 in each of the following four years. 

The work on the 44 interceptors is expected to be completed in September 2016, the latest contract announcement said.

In October, the MDA announced its intent to award Raytheon a sole-source contract worth as much as $3 billion for SM-3 Block 1B production. That came shortly after an intercept test that MDA officials described as the Block 1B’s fifth consecutive success.