The Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md., will continue providing engineering and technical support to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) under a five-year contract potentially valued at $923 million that was awarded on a sole-source basis, the MDA announced July 27.

“The contractor will provide essential and critical engineering, research, and development capabilities and services in the continued research and development of the Ballistic Missile Defense System,” the MDA said in a notice posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website. “These services include but are not limited to support in Systems Engineering, Test and Evaluation, Advanced Concepts and Technologies, along with Simulation, Modeling and Operations Analysis.”

In an earlier public notice of its intent to make the sole-source award, the MDA said the contract would continue work currently performed by the laboratory, and noted the nonprofit institution’s long history and expertise in solving “complex research, engineering and analytical problems” for U.S. national security customers. The Applied Physics Laboratory, a Department of Defense University Affiliated Research Center, has been supporting U.S. defense technology efforts since 1942, the earlier notice said.

In the notice, the MDA did not try to make the case that the Applied Physics Laboratory was the only qualified provider of the services, which can be a justification for awarding contracts without competition. Instead, the notice cited the government’s desire to “maintain this essential engineering and research capability at a nonprofit institution as authorized” by U.S. law.