Lockheed has been awarded a contract by the US Missile Defense Agency for concept definition and programme planning phase for the Standard missile-3 block IIB (SM-3 IIB).

The 32-month, $43.3m concept definition and programme planning phase will focus on defining design objectives, conducting trade studies, reducing technology risk and developing an executable programme plan.

The new missile will provide early intercept capability to the US Navy against intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats.

The missile will be integrated into the Aegis Weapon System, with the Aegis BMD 5.1 fire control and the mk41 vertical launching system.

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Work will be carried out at the company’s facilities in California, Alabama, New Jersey and Texas, US.