NASA Gives Lockheed $667.3 Million To $977 Million Contract

NASA gave Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT] a $667.3 million to $977 million contract affecting hardware and other items needed for human spaceflight missions, with work centered at Johnson Space Center.

The contract base period begins Jan. 1 and continues through Sept. 30, 2012, including two one-year extension options valued at $154.2 million and $155.5 million respectively. Exercising both options would extend the contract through Sept. 30, 2014, and increase the total to $977 million.

Lockheed will provide integrated support for hardware, software, data and displays used to train for and execute those missions.

The new facilities development and operations contract, or FDOC, combines work previously performed under two separate contracts, and the synergy is expected to augment efficiency and effectiveness of the human spaceflight operations team, according to NASA.

That FDOC replaces the mission support operations contract and incorporates portions of the work performed under the space program operations contract.

“This award offers the opportunity to effectively transition experienced mission operations capabilities from the Space Shuttle Program to the Constellation Program,” said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for space operations. “Specifically, this contract will make possible the efficient transformation of shuttle operations personnel, knowledge and facilities to enable success in future human spaceflight programs.”

Under the Constellation Program, NASA is developing the Orion space capsule, or crew exploration vehicle, under a contract with Lockheed, along with development of separate segments of the Ares rocket that will loft Orion into space. Companies working on Ares under separate contracts include The Boeing Co. [BA], Alliant Techsystems Inc. [ATK], and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, a unit of United Technologies Corp. [UTC].

The contract provides consolidated systems services development and operations support within the Mission Control Center in Houston and backup control centers for the space shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation programs.

The FDOC team will ensure the availability, integrity and reliability of space station avionics software, space shuttle and space station integrated planning systems, shuttle and station simulators for crews and flight controllers, and space shuttle flight software production.

In addition, it will support development of a Constellation training facility, simulators and mission control systems.

Raytheon Gains $422 Million Standard Missile-2 Contract

The Navy awarded Raytheon Co. [RTN] a $422 million production contract for Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA and IIIB missiles.

The missile defense interceptors will go to the U.S. Navy, Taiwan, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

The SM-2 employs dual-mode infrared and radio frequency guidance to defeat target countermeasures, effective against supersonic, sea-skimming missiles during high-G (gravity force) maneuvers.

“The flexibility and reliability of the SM-2 are unmatched, and it has the longest range of any naval air defense missile in the world,” said Ron Shields, Raytheon Missile Systems Standard Missile program director.

SM-2 has been the U.S. Navy primary surface-to-air fleet defense weapon for more than three decades. It is capable of engaging anti-ship cruise missiles, fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. The latest versions of the missile feature improved guidance software.

Raytheon gains $5.7 Million Maverick Missile Upgrade Contract

The Air Force gave Raytheon Co. [RTN] a $5.7 million contract option to upgrade software on the AGM-65 H/K TV-guided Maverick air-to-surface missile.

“The software retrofit improves pilots’ ability to visually identify and engage distant targets,” said Col. Eric Theisen, the Air Combat Command advanced programs division chief. “This translates into greater standoff distance for the weapon and better survivability for the operator.”

Upgrades also provide the operator with more combat engagement opportunities.

“The upgraded software reduces aircrew workload, while improving the missile hit rate and accuracy,” said Harry Schulte, vice president of Raytheon Missile Systems Air Warfare Systems product line. “The Maverick has always been ideal for close air support missions; now it’s even better.”

Advanced Precision Kill Program Switches From Army To Navy: BAE

A BAE Systems program, the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) contract, transferred from the Army to the Navy, BAE announced.

With full funding in place, the Navy and Marine Corps recently assumed the APKWS development contract with BAE Systems to complete the system development and demonstration (SDD) of the rocket-guidance capability.

“APKWS will give troops the ability to engage enemies in an urban environment, minimizing casualties and property damage and allowing helicopter troops to target enemies with increased precision even before opposition forces are aware of engagement,” said Frank Wilson, vice president of precision targeting for BAE Systems in Nashua, New Hampshire.

APKWS is a low-cost, low-yield precision munition system that turns a standard 2.75-inch unguided rocket to a smart, laser-guided weapon capable of engaging unarmored and lightly armored targets.

The seeker guides the rocket to its target with pinpoint accuracy, ensuring that the intended target is destroyed while minimizing the risk of collateral damage. APKWS requires no aircraft hardware modifications and allows military aircrews to engage targets that previously were off-limits due to the risk of collateral damage.

By the end of last year, the APKWS program had completed 14 demonstrations with two helicopter platforms involving three separate air crews and various mission scenarios. Development funding will be used for testing and qualification of APKWS for use on the Marine Corps AH-1W Super Cobra helicopter.

BAE Systems plans to begin producing the rockets at the end of next year. The company has been the prime contractor for APKWS since April 2006.