June 25 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin was awarded a $561.8 million contract to produce Army tactical guided missiles for Bahrain, Poland and Romania.
The contract for the MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, includes guided missiles and a launching Service Life Extension Program, or SLEP III, as part of foreign military sales, the Defense Department announced Monday.
The SLEP and new ATACMS rounds will be produced at Lockheed Martin's Precision Fires Production Center of Excellence in Camden, Ark., the company said in a news release Tuesday. Lockheed Martin said it is expanding the Camden manufacturing facilities to produce ATACMS and other upcoming missiles.
Work also will be conducted in Grand Prairie, Texas; Boulder, Colo.; Clearwater, Fla.; St. Louis, Mo.; Lufkin, Texas; Windsor Locks, Conn.; and Williston, Va., and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2022.
The Pentagon has obligated fiscal 2018 and 2019 missile procurement, Army and foreign military sales funds in the full amount of the contract to Lockheed at the time of the award.
"The new-build ATACMS rounds under this contract will include sensor technology that provides the recently qualified height-of-burst capability," Gaylia Campbell, vice president of Precision Fires & Combat Maneuver Systems at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control, said a statement. "This new feature will allow soldiers to address area targets at depth on the battlefield."
ATACMS includes a long-range, guided missile packaged in a multiple launch rocket system look-alike launch pod, and is fired from the MLRS family of launchers.
For more than 40 years, Lockheed has designed and manufactured long-range, surface-to-surface precision strike solutions.
The multiple rocket launcher, which was developed in the late 1990s for the United States Army, is mounted on a standard Army M1140 truck frame.
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HMARS, can launch six guided rockets with a range of 37 miles or a single ATACMS missile up to a range of 187 miles, according to Lockheed. The solid-fueled missiles can carry a 160-247 kg payload.
More than 540 ATACMS have been fired, and ATACMS is the only long-range tactical surface-to-surface missile ever employed in combat by the U.S. Army, that has "demonstrated extremely high rates of combat accuracy and liability," says Lockheed.
The three nations have been on a missile buying spree in recent years.
In 2017, the State Department approved a estimated $1.25 billion purchase of the HMARs systems for Romania.
Lockheed Martin in March was awarded a $1.14 billion contract for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, or GMLRS, for Bahrain, Poland and Romania.
The United States is also considering setting up a major military base in Poland, on top of radar and other defense systems set up there in recent months.
In March, the U.S. Army awarded Northrop Grumman a $713 million contract to provide a missile system for Poland. The contract is for the first phase of Poland's Wisla Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System. Patriots are deployed in the system.
the U.S. State Department in May also approved two possible contracts with Bahrain worth more than $2.2 billion to support weapons for its F-16V aircraft fleet and Patriot missile systems.