ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Air Force has contracted ATK to produce rocket motors for AIM-9P Sidewinder air-to-air missiles.
The motors produced under the $17 million contract will be made available to U.S. allies under the Foreign Military Sales program.
"ATK is proud to restart production of the AIM-9P rocket motor to support the needs of our FMS customers," said Jerry Brode, Tactical Propulsion Market Segment director at ATK's Missile Products division.
"This rocket motor has a significant history with ATK and has maintained a long-standing position within our portfolio of tactical Sidewinder and air-to-air rocket motor production lines."
The AIM-9P Sidewinder has been in use since the late 1970s and remain in the inventories of many NATO countries but are aging beyond the missile's period of expected use in service.
The Air Force and ATK said restarting the AIM-9P rocket motor production line provides an affordable solution to update and extend the service life of the weapon.
The motors will be manufactured at the Allegany Ballistics Laboratory in West Virginia, a U.S. Navy-owned, ATK-operated facility.
"ATK is committed to the ongoing success of our international allies," said Cary Ralston, vice president and general manager of the Missile Products division within ATK's Defense Group.
"We are honored to provide our customers around the globe with an affordable and efficient solution to reinvigorate and sustain the service life of their missile defense systems."