US-based Lockheed Martin, a global security and aerospace company, has been awarded an extra $932 million to supply intermediate-range interceptor missiles to the US and Saudi Arabia.
The contract is another sign of the missile and missile defense powerhouse growing inside Lockheed's vast defence portfolio.
The Pentagon on Tuesday announced a contract modification to add the new Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) one-shot interceptors.
The THAAD system, designed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin using Raytheon radars and Aerojet Rocketdyne boosters, is designed to shoot down short- and medium-range ballistic missiles on their descent.
The system is somewhat portable and deployable as needed, and it, along with the Lockheed-built Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System deployed on much of the Navy's fleet of destroyers, is quickly becoming a vital cog in the US defence strategy.
Foreign military sales funds earmarked for Saudi Arabia will pay for $605 million of the award, with the rest coming from US government funds, said a statement from Lockheed Martin.
The award comes nearly a year after Lockheed Martin received its first down payment on a $15 billion missile defense system for Saudi Arabia, it added.
The THAAD is the primary US deterrent to North Korean rockets from locations in South Korea and Guam and is also been deployed in the UAE, Israel, and Romania.
A January escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran that led to strikes on US assets only reinforced the need to deploy defensive measures in the region.
Lockheed's Missiles and Fire Control (MFC) unit doesn't get the same amount of attention as the company's airplanes and helicopters, but it is growing increasingly important to the overall investment case for the company.
In addition to THAAD and Aegis, Lockheed Martin recently scored an apparent win on the Army's new long-range ballistic missile.-TradeArabia News Service
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