The guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon fires an SM-2 missile during a live-fire exercise utilizing the Aegis combat system, in 2015 in the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Mass Communication Spec. 3rd Class Jonathan Jiang/U.S. Navy
Feb. 12 (UPI) -- The U.S. Navy has awarded Lockheed Martin a $212 million contract for additional work on the development and integration of the Aegis system for Japan.
The contract is for incorporation of remaining Baseline J7 scope in support of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, the U.S. Department of Defense announced Monday.
Aegis, which stands for Advanced Electronic Guided Interceptor System, is integrated into ships. The automated and centralized computerized and radar weapon system can track targets -- sometimes more than 100 at once, according to the Navy.
Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems is the primary contractor for the Aegis Weapon System and Multi-Mission Signal Processors.
The contract will include full operational capability at the development test sites, execution of J7 Baseline development and integration activities, integration of Japanese domestic ship systems, in-country integrated test team support and provision of technical manuals, logistics and staging activities.
Work, which is expected to be completed by October 2021, mainly will be performed at Lockheed Martin's Rotary and Mission Systems plant in Moorestown, N.J., and some work in Japan.
The full amount of the contract was obligated to Lockheed at the time of award from Foreign Military Sales funds, none of which will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
In January, Japan, which already has the seventh-largest defense budget in the world, increased its military budget for this year to $47 billion in fiscal 2019, the highest ever. Under the current administration, the Japanese defense budget has increased for five years in a row.
Also in January, the U.S. State Department approved Japan's $2.15 billion purchase of two land-based Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense systems. It will provide the two next-generation Atago-class destroyers -- the 27DDG destroyer -- with the Aegis ship set and will be deployed by 2023.
The State Department noted the United States must assist Japan in developing and maintaining a strong and effective self-defense capability, especially against North Korea.
Japan also wants to buy six of the F-35A stealth fighters.
Lockheed Martin has already provided four of Japan's Kongo-class destroyers and two Atago-class destroyers with sea, air and undersea threat detection capabilities, Defense World.net reported.
Japan plans to select a drone system in fiscal 2019, China.org reported. Three maritime surveillance drones are planned for fiscal years 2019 to 2023 and 20 more drones later.
In fiscal 2021, Japan's Air Self-Defense Force will deploy the Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle and establish a special unit to handle the drones.