Aug. 7 (UPI) — Lockheed Martin Space received a $405.7 million contract modification for the U.S. Army’s hypersonic Conventional Prompt Strike missile, the Defense Department said.
The company will design and construct large diameter rocket motors, associated elements and related support equipment for the Army’s Intermediate Range Conventional Prompt Strike Weapon System flight test demonstrations, the Defense Department said on Tuesday.
Work on the IRCPS will be done in Littleton, Colo., with an expected completion date of Jan. 1, 2024.
The Conventional Prompt Global Strike program allows the Army to execute a non-nuclear strike within an hour, anywhere on earth. The weapons, flying at over twice the speed of sound, could allow the United States to swiftly respond to rapidly emerging threats than is possible with conventional forces.
The Army first tested a prototype advanced hypersonic weapon in 2011 with a missile launched from Hawaii and striking a target 2,300 miles away, on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, in under 30 minutes.
“Conventional prompt global strike weapons would allow the United States to strike targets anywhere on Earth in as little as an hour. This capability may bolster U.S. efforts to deter and defeat adversaries by allowing the United States to attack high-value targets or ‘fleeting targets’ at the start of or during a conflict,” a report to Congress in January 2019 by the Congressional Research Service stated.
The weapons are not substitutes for nuclear weapons, but supplement U.S. conventional capabilities and serve as an effort at deterrence, officials have said.
The new contract comes days after the United States ended its involvement in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1988 with the Soviet Union.
In February, Lockheed also received an $846 million contract for work on a similar weapon for the U.S. Navy.