The U.S. Department of Defense’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) today awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) $979,175,217 for continued development and evolution of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) Weapon System.

Capability improvements planned in the next phase of Aegis BMD include equipment and computer program development and incorporation of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense Signal Processor (Aegis BSP) into the AN/SPY-1 radar, which as a system provides an advanced discrimination capability to defeat more complex ballistic missile threats. The Aegis BSP, which will be installed on all Aegis BMD ships beginning in 2010, is an open architecture design, allowing for quick and affordable upgrades as signal processor technology evolves.

In addition, Lockheed Martin will develop an adjunct computing suite that will house several computing devices and software components that continue Aegis BMD’s migration to open architecture. This move for Aegis BMD is in parallel alignment with the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Open Architecture initiative to transform the (non-BMD) Aegis Weapon System to a fully open architecture system. BMD capability will be included in modernized, open architecture combat systems in Aegis cruisers and destroyers starting in 2012.

“Our rigorous system engineering approach continues to deliver to the Navy and Missile Defense Agency a multi-mission weapon system that meets all challenges and continues to deliver critical capability to the fleet,” said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Surface-Sea Based Missile Defense line of business.

During at-sea tests, the Aegis BMD Weapon System has achieved eight successful missile intercepts in 10 attempts. In addition to its intercepts, Aegis BMD has successfully completed more than 15 successful ballistic missile defense system tracking tests since June 2004. Aegis BMD went to sea with its initial operating capability in October 2004 and the latest version, Aegis BMD 3.6, was certified for tactical deployment by the U.S. Navy and MDA in September 2006.

The MDA and the U.S. Navy are jointly developing Aegis BMD as part of the nation’s Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS). Ultimately, 15 Aegis destroyers and three Aegis cruisers will be outfitted with the ability to engage short to intermediate range ballistic missile threats and support other BMDS engagements using the Aegis BMD Weapon System and the SM-3 missile. Currently, six Aegis-equipped warships have the ability to engage ballistic missiles, while another 10 Aegis warships are equipped with Aegis BMD Long Range Surveillance & Track capability.

The Aegis Weapon System is the world’s premier naval surface defense system and is the foundation for Aegis BMD, the primary component of the sea- based element of the United States’ BMDS. The Aegis BMD Weapon System seamlessly integrates the SPY-1 radar, the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, the SM-3 missile and the weapon system’s command and control system. The Aegis BMD Weapon System also integrates with the BMDS, receiving cues from and providing cueing information to other BMDS elements.

The Aegis Weapon System is currently deployed on 81 ships around the globe with more than 25 additional ships planned or under contract. In addition to the United States, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for Japan, South Korea, Norway, Spain and Australia. Japan will begin installation of Aegis BMD in its Kongo-class Aegis destroyers in 2007, and is a partner in developing a larger, faster variant of the SM-3 missile.

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 defense system, Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3). It also has considerable experience in interceptor systems, kill vehicles, battle management command, control and communications, precision pointing and tracking optics, as well as radar and other sensors that enable signal processing and data fusion. The company makes significant contributions to nearly all major U.S. Missile Defense Systems and participates in several global missile defense partnerships.

Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin employs more than 140,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

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