June 26 (UPI) -- The U.S. Defense Department awarded a $78.4 million contract to Lockheed Martin for development of the AEGIS combat system, as well as test site operation and maintenance.
AEGIS, which is integrated into U.S. Navy destroyers and cruisers, is an automated and centralized weapon system that can track targets -- sometimes more than 100 at once, according to the Navy.
The Lockheed Martin contract will pay for maintenance on and improvements to the AEGIS combat system and AEGIS weapon system on Ticonderoga- and Arleigh Burke-class ships, with work expected to take place at the Combat Systems Engineering Development Site, SPY-1A Test Facility and Naval Systems Computing Center in Moorestown, New Jersey, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Work will include technical engineering, configuration management, equipment, quality assurance, information assurance and other maintenance.
Pending options could increase the contract value to roughly $84 million.
Contract purchases include those for the Japanese, Australian and South Korean governments under the U.S. government's foreign military sales program.
Foreign military sales, the Navy and Defense Department's respective fiscal 2018 research, development, rest and evaluation funds, the Navy's fiscal 2018 operations and maintenance funds and the Navy's fiscal 2016 shipbuilding and conversion funds were obligated in the amount of $13 million at the time of the award.
The Defense Department expects Lockheed Martin to conclude work on the contract by June 2019.