March 15 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army awarded Lockheed Martin a $506.9 million contract to build the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles.
The contract is for incidental services, hardware, facilities, equipment, as well as all technical, planning, management, manufacturing and testing efforts to produce the Patriot, which is an acronym for the Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target, the Department of Defense announced Thursday.
Work will be performed at Lockheed's plant in Grand Prairie, Texas, with an estimated completion date of Dec. 31, 2024. Army fiscal 2019 other procurement funds in the full amount were obligated at the time of the award.
Patriots defend against incoming threats, including tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and aircraft. The PAC-3 missiles first were deployed during the Iraq conflict in 2003 with 100 percent effectiveness.
"The 'Hit-To-Kill' PAC-3 Missile is the world's most advanced, capable and powerful terminal air defense missile," according to Lockheed Martin.
The PAC-3 significantly increase the Patriot system's firepower because 16 PAC-3s load-out on a Patriot launcher, compared with four Patriot PAC-2 missiles.
The PAC-3 upgrade consists of the PAC-3 missile, a hit-to-kill interceptor, the PAC-3 missile canisters in four packs, a fire solution computer and an Enhanced Launcher Electronics System.
The missile system uses a solid propellant rocket motor, aerodynamic controls, attitude control motors and inertial guidance to navigate.
Late last month, the Defense Department awarded separate contracts to Lockheed Martin and Raytheon for Patriot missile support for several allied nations.
Lockheed was awarded a $680 million deal earlier this month for foreign military sales to South Korea, Poland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Germany and Netherlands. Raytheon also received $102.5 million for parts on domestic and Netherlands Patriot systems on the same day.
Lockheed has manufactured more than 2,000 missiles for 13 foreign nations and the United States.