HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Aug. 25 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin reports it has chosen its manufacturing facility in Courtland, Ala., for Standard Missile-3 Block IIB production.
The production facility decision will be part of the bid that Lockheed Martin intends to submit for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency's upcoming product development phase for the SM-3 IIB, which is to be awarded in 2013.
"Our Courtland facility is a proven provider of assembly, integration and test of ballistic missile targets and missile defense systems," said John W. Holly, vice president, Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. "This decision represents Lockheed's continued commitment to the nation's missile defense and the north Alabama community, where we have operated for nearly 50 years."
Focused on stringent quality standards and cost-reduction measures, the facility produces highly reliable threat-representative ballistic missile targets.
The SM-3 IIB missile will provide early intercept capability against intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile threats. It will be a key element of phase IV of the Phased Adaptive Approach, which will provide enhanced capabilities against threats on a global basis.
The new missile will be integrated into the Aegis Weapon System, with the Aegis BMD 5.1 Fire Control and the MK 41 Vertical Launching System, as part of the Aegis Ashore capability.
"By pairing our extensive interceptor development and weapon system integration expertise with our full suite of production capabilities in Courtland, Lockheed Martin will be able to offer the Missile Defense Agency and the U.S. Navy a reliable and affordable new interceptor," said Doug Graham, vice president of advanced programs, Strategic and Missile Defense Systems, Lockheed Martin Space Systems.
The competitive product development phase for the SM-3 IIB will follow the current concept definition and program planning phase, for which the Missile Defense Agency awarded Lockheed Martin a $43.3 million contract in April.