The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded Northrop Grumman Corporation a $142 million follow-on contract for systems engineering, planning and logistics support for its Airborne Laser boost phase missile defense program.
The Airborne Laser system is a high-energy, oxygen-iodine laser and beam control system in a Boeing 747 aircraft that can detect, track and destroy ballistic missiles during boost phase using a high-power laser beam.
Under the Airborne Laser Advisory and Assistance Services contract, Northrop Grumman's Information Technology (IT) sector will provide technical and administrative support, including understanding technical program challenges, analyzing and predicting performance and conducting optimal system-design plans for the Airborne Laser Program Office, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., through 2009.
"Our technical expertise will help the Missile Defense Agency successfully execute this critical program to provide an advanced missile defense capability using high-energy lasers. ABL will bring speed-of-light capability to missile defense," said Kent Schneider, president of Northrop Grumman IT's Defense Enterprise Solutions business unit.
Additional work on the contract includes analysis, systems engineering and modeling and simulation for the chemical oxygen-iodine laser device, which causes structural damage to a target missile, and the beam control system, which senses the target, selects an aim-point, and directs the laser to that aim-point. The beam control system also senses and corrects for distortions caused by the atmosphere along the beam path.
Northrop Grumman IT will also help analyze system tests, provide administrative support for security and personnel and support the Missile Defense Agency's airborne sensor program operations.