Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) has received a potential $81 million contract to design and build a prototype designed to replace the U.S. Air Force’s aerial launch control system aboard the E-6B Mercury airborne command post aircraft.
The service awarded the technology maturation and risk reduction contract through the Airborne Launch Control System-Replacement program, Lockheed said Wednesday.
“ALCS-R provides the future generation of assured communication and secure command and control for America’s ground based nuclear missiles,” said Vinny Sica, vice president and general manager of mission solutions at Lockheed’s space business.
“We recognize the importance of modernizing the nation’s nuclear command and control systems to ensure total system resiliency and enhanced nuclear deterrence,” he added.
The ALCS-R program seeks to deploy an alternative launch platform for Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles by 2024 and provide a command-and-control capability for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent system that is expected to replace Minuteman IIIs by late 2020s.
Lockheed has partnered with L3 Technologies (NYSE: LLL) to develop a secure communications system under the ALCS-R program.
The service branch expects the new ALCS-R system to have cryptographic devices, launch control components, new radios and other technologies that can be updated through 2075.