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U.S. Army exercises option for more Hellfire II missiles

By
Ryan Maass
The Hellfire missile family can be fired from fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Pictured, an AH-1Z Viper deploys a Hellfire missile during an exercise in Okinawa, Japan. Photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Sean M. Evans/U.S. Marine Corps
The Hellfire missile family can be fired from fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft. Pictured, an AH-1Z Viper deploys a Hellfire missile during an exercise in Okinawa, Japan. Photo by MCIPAC Combat Camera Lance Cpl. Sean M. Evans/U.S. Marine Corps

March 1 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin received a $427 million contract modification to continue Hellfire II missile production for the U.S. Army.

The Hellfire II missile is a follow-on to the AGM-114 Hellfire air-to-surface missile family. The variant was first developed in the early 1990s, and features semi-active laser variants including the AGM-114K, AGM-114M and the AGM-114N.

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The missile is designed to be deployed from fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, and has also been integrated on unmanned platforms including the General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper.

U.S. defense officials had plans to replace the Hellfire II with the Joint Common Missile, but the project was canceled in 2007 over its cost.

Lockheed Martin's latest Hellfire production order was paid for with fiscal 2016 funds.

Work on the contract will be performed in various locations in Florida, Alabama and Texas. The U.S. Department of Defense expects the work to be complete by September 2020.

Lockheed Martin received all funding at the time of the contract award. The U.S. Army Contracting Command is the contracting activity.

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