Northrop Grumman Corp. of Los Angeles intends to compete as prime contractor for a missile defense modeling and simulation contract that could be worth as much as $850 million, the company announced Sept. 14.

With a single ballistic missile defense system flight test costing tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in recent years has placed a heightened emphasis on developing its modeling and simulation capabilities.

The MDA plans to hold an open competition for the Objective Simulation Framework program, which will integrate all of its ballistic missile defense system modeling and simulation initiatives. The agency in May 2011 plans to award a single indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract for the program, according to a Northrop Grumman press release.