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Orbital nabs $1.1B contract for Missile Defense targets

By Ed Adamczyk
Orbital nabs $1.1B contract for Missile Defense targets
Orbital Sciences Corp. received a $1.1 billion contract with the Missile Defense Agency to build and maintain threat-representative targets for the Ballistic Missile Defense System. Photo courtesy of U.S. Missile Defense Agency

Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Orbital Sciences Corp. received a $1.1 billion contract with the Missile Defense Agency for missile defense targets, the Defense Department announced.

The company, based in Chandler, Ariz., and a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, will build "threat-representative subscale targets with simple and complex re-entry vehicles," the Defense Department said on Friday.

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The target system will be used to test the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense System, which is designed to counter short-, medium-, intermediate- and long-range ballistic missiles before their targets are reached.

The defense system's architecture includes includes networked sensors and ground- and sea-based radars for target detection and tracking, ground- and sea-based interceptor missiles for destroying ballistic and a command, control, battle management, and communications network providing operational commanders with the needed links between the sensors and interceptor missiles.

Development of a target system was an important factor at an MDA Industry Day event in June, with officials noting the importance of developing "quality, threat representative, cost-effective target solutions with systematic rigor enabling the Ballistic Missile Defense System to test system performance and demonstrate its effectiveness in threat-relevant environments."

The contract awarded Friday also calls for Orbital to provide storage, surveillance, maintenance of delivered hardware and software, and range execution of end items. It specifies a performance period from September 2019 to September 2027.

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