There are five variants of the Hellfire II, including Longbow, which provides fire-and-forget capability even in adverse weather conditions. Photo by Stahlkocher
April 26 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin has been awarded a three-year $723.6 million contract to procure a variety of Hellfire II missile systems for the U.S. Army and three allies.
As part of foreign military sales, the air-to-surface missiles, which can be launched from the air, sea, and ground platforms, will be produced for Lebanon, Netherlands and France, the Defense Department announced Thursday.
Work will be performed at Lockheed's plant in Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 30, 2022.
Naval fiscal 2017, 2018 and 2019 other procurement in the full amount were obligated at the time of the award.
The missile system is also used by the Air Force, Marines and Navy, as well as 16 other nations, according to Defence Blog.
The Hellfire, which is 100-108 pounds and is 64 inches long, uses a laser-guidance system that can be directed by a laser targeting pod.
They can be launched from multiple air, sea and ground platforms, including the Predator drone. They also are used on helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
Hellfire II variants have been used successfully in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
First developed for anti-armor use, the Hellfire was originally created under the name Heliborne, Laser, Fire and Forget Missile, which led to the colloquial name "Hellfire" ultimately becoming the missile's formal name.
Hellfire production started in 1982.
The Hellfire II family of missiles, which were first fired by Australia in 2005, includes five variations.
In March, Lockheed Martin Corp. was awarded an $84.1 million contract by the U.S. Navy for design and engineering services on four existing missile systems, including the Hellfire. The others are the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile, the Long Range Anti-Ship Missile and the Joint Air-to-Ground Missile.