BAE Systems yesterday said it has received initial $81 million contract funding from Lockheed Martin [LMT] to begin production of 143 infrared seekers for the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) weapon system program.

THAAD is designed to defend U.S. and allied soldiers, military assets, and metropolitan areas from ballistic missile attack threats.

The BAE seeker provides the infrared imagery from the targeted warhead to the missile to guide the interceptor to its target, destroying enemy warheads through direct hit-to-kill technology.

“…our reliable seeker detects infrared radiation from the target missile and warhead and generates video guiding the interceptor to the target,” said Barry Yeadon, THAAD program manager at BAE. “THAAD has a spotless flight test record of nine-for-nine intercepts. During the most recent test, two interceptors destroyed two separate targets–a challenging feat.” 

Additionally, THAAD prime contractor Lockheed Martin, awarded BAE $5.3 million in initial contract funding for tooling and test equipment to increase the monthly production rate of the seeker.

BAE Systems has delivered a total of 100 THAAD seekers to date. The assembly, integration, and testing of the THAAD infrared seekers will take place at BAE’s facilities in Nashua, N.H., and Lexington, Mass.