March 1 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin Corp. was awarded an $850 million modification to an existing contract for element development and support services for a key part of the military's ballistic missile defense system the Missile Defense Agency.
The contract modification, announced Thursday by the Defense Department, will bring the value of an already existing contract for work on the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system from $1.5 billion to $2.33 billion.
THAAD is an anti-ballistic missile defense system established to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles in their descent phase by intercepting and destroying them.
The system uses ground- and sea-based interceptor missiles to destroy ballistic missiles using either the force of a direct collision, known as a "hit-to-kill" technology, or an explosive blast fragmentation warhead.
The new contract modification exercises an option for additional incremental development, support to flight and ground test programs, and responsive support to requirements to sustain the Ballistic Missile Defense System throughout its life cycle.
Lockheed Martin's work will be performed at its Sunnyvale, Calif., and Huntsville, Ala., with completion dates for work expected under future task order awards, the Pentagon said.