Orbital Nabs $1.1 Billion Missile Target Contract

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WASHINGTON — Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., won a contract potentially worth $1.1 billion over seven years to provide intermediate-range target missiles for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), the Defense Department announced March 8.

Orbital will be responsible for manufacturing, storing and maintaining the target missiles as well as preparing them for launch and conducting post-launch analysis, the announcement said. Honeywell International of Morristown, N.J., and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) Aerospace Systems of Magna, Utah, are subcontractors on the fixed-price incentive-fee contract.

The MDA will purchase eight targets from Orbital under the base contract and as many as 22 targets through 2017, agency spokesman Rick Lehner said March 9.

The MDA previously used intermediate-range targets built by Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., and Coleman Aerospace of Orlando, Fla., for ballistic missile defense tests. A flight test failure last year of a Coleman Aerospace-built target caused Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O’Reilly, the MDA’s director, to stop using that company’s targets.

Orbital bested Northrop Grumman Corp. of Los Angeles and Coleman Aerospace in the intermediate-range targets competition, according to an industry source. Lockheed Martin did not bid as a prime contractor.