An unarmed missile is test-fired from an Ohio-class U.S. Navy submarine. Photo by MCS1 Ronald Gutridge/U.S. Navy
Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Space has received an $846 million contract to design, develop and construct the Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike Weapon System for the U.S. Navy., the Defense Department said.
The contract modification, announced on Tuesday, calls for the design, development, construction and integration of large diameter rocket motors, associated parts and related support equipment for flight test demonstrations for the Navy's Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike Weapon System.
The system can "allow the United States to strike targets anywhere on Earth in as little as an hour. This capability may bolster U.S. efforts to deter and defeat adversaries by allowing the United States to attack high-value targets or 'fleeting targets' at the start of or during a conflict," a report in January by the Congressional Research Service said.
The CPGS weapons are not substitutes for nuclear weapons, but supplement U.S. conventional capabilities and serve as an effort at deterrence, officials say.
The Navy successfully tested the system for the first time in 2017 with Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines. Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, Navy Strategic Systems Program director, said at the time that the test, conducted in the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii's Pacific Missile Range Facility, was "a monumental achievement."
Four Ohio-class submarines have been converted to guided-missile submarines to carry conventional weapons by modifying missile tubes.
The contract announced on Tuesday is a modification to a previously announced, unpriced contract. Work will be done at the Lockheed Martin Space facility in Littleton, Colo. The Strategic Systems Programs office in Washington, D.C., is the contracting agency.