The Laser & Electro Optical Systems (L&EOS) unit of Boeing [NYSE:BA] Missile Defense Systems (MDS) has received a contract worth up to $413 million to continue supporting two U.S. Air Force laboratories engaged in cutting-edge research on high energy laser and satellite tracking technologies.

Under the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Innovative Research and Optical Support Services (IROSS) contract, Boeing Laser & Electro Optical Systems will provide technical support services at the Maui Space Surveillance System (MSSS) in Hawaii and the Starfire Optical Range at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M. Those services include supplying engineers and scientists to support research at both facilities. The contract also calls for Boeing to furnish infrastructure support at MSSS. The IROSS contract combines two prior efforts: the AFRL Starfire Optical Range Experimental and Technical Support contract and the Maui Space Surveillance System — Research, Development and Operations & Maintenance contracts. Combining those efforts into one contract is expected to produce synergies, allowing each facility to incorporate best practices into both research and operations. The IROSS contract starts in January 2006 and will last up to seven years.

This contract also marks the continuation of a 15-year Boeing partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory at the two sites. Boeing has performed the work through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Boeing Laser Technical Services (LTS).

“The IROSS program positions Boeing to continue our longstanding commitment to the Air Force in operating two major Directed Energy and Space Control research and development sites,” said Pat Shanahan, Boeing Missile Defense Systems vice president and general manager. “This program is a cornerstone of Boeing’s Laser & Electro Optical Systems business portfolio and complements our overall Missile Defense Systems strategy.”

MSSS and SOR, which host a variety of sophisticated sensors and other instruments, explore ways to improve such things as space surveillance and the propagation and control of laser energy.