Air Force Taps Northrop, ULA, Blue Origin for Rocket Prototype Dev’t OTAs

Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC), United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin will build rocket prototypes under three separate other-transaction agreements with the U.S. Air Force in support of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

Northrop’s innovation systems business received a potential $791.6M OTA to develop the OmegA launch system and ULA secured a potential $967M contract to work on the Vulcan Centaur platform, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

Blue Origin will build the New Glenn launch vehicle under a potential $500M contract.

The Air Force said the OTAs awarded through a competitive acquisition process are part of its plan to competitively select two domestic commercial service providers that can support the launch of national security payloads by fiscal 2020.

“We’re making the most of the authorities Congress gave us and we will no longer be reliant on the Russian-built RD-180 rocket engine,” said Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson.

Northrop will perform work in Arizona, Utah, Mississippi, Florida, Ohio and Louisiana through Dec. 31, 2024, while Blue Origin will carry out prototype development in Washington and Alabama through July 31, 2024.

ULA will work on its launch system in Colorado and Alabama through March 31, 2025.

The Space and Missile Systems Center will obligate at the time of award $109M in fiscal 2018 funds to each company under the cost-share agreements.

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