The Air Force is moving forward with the effort to modernize its Airborne Launch Control System (ALCS) for ICBMs with an $81 million deal to Lockheed Martin [LMT] to develop a replacement system prototype, the company said Wednesday.

Lockheed Martin is tasked with designing a prototype for the system that will provide command and control capabilities for the Air Force’s future Ground Based Strategic Deterrent missile system scheduled to be fielded in the late 2020s. The program is known as ALCS-Replacement.ALCS

“ALCS-R provides the future generation of assured communication and secure command and control for America’s ground based nuclear missiles,” Vinny Sica, vice president of mission solutions for Lockheed Martin Space, said in a statement. “We recognize the importance of modernizing the nation’s nuclear command and control systems to ensure total system resiliency and enhanced nuclear deterrence. We are proud to partner with the Air Force to achieve this critical mission capability.”

L3 Technologies [LLL] has partnered with Lockheed Martin to develop secure communications architecture for the ALCS-R prototype.

“Working closely with Lockheed Martin on this important program will provide the needed encryption and communications to enable this system to be successful for the customer,” said Andy Ivers, senior vice president for L3, said in a statement.

Future ALCS-R efforts include upgrading the platform’s radios and launch control systems, as well as building in improved cyber security capabilities. Modernized tools for the ALCS are expected to be upgradeable through 2075.