Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has received a $631.8 million foreign military sales contract to sell the Netherlands and Japan Hellfire II missiles.
Work on the contract, announced Monday by the Department of Defense, will be performed in Orlando, Fla., with an estimated completion date of September 2021. Army fiscal 2017 and 2018 foreign military sales and other procurement funds in the combined amount of $631.8 million were obligated at the time of award.
The Hellfire II is the primary air-to-ground short-range precision guided missile for U.S. helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles and is in service with many other nations. It has been produced in ground- and ship-launched models as well.
The Hellfire uses a laser-guidance system that can either be directed by a laser targeting pod on the launching aircraft or a separate laser designator used by ground forces or other aircraft.
A variant used by the AH-64 Apache Longbow uses a radar and inertial guidance system that utilizes a fire-and-forget capability which does not require continuous lock from the launching helicopter like the laser version does.
The Hellfire was designed primarily as an air-launched anti-tank weapon and has been in service since 1984. It has seen widespread use in Iraq, Afghanistan and other theaters as a general precision strike weapon.
It has also been the main weapon used by unmanned aerial vehicles in the Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency's targeted drone strike program. Over 15,000 have been used in conventional and targeted attacks since 2001.