Northrop awarded $142 million ABL contract

The US Missile Defense Agency has awarded Northrop Grumman a $142 million follow-on contract for systems engineering, planning and logistics support for its Airborne Laser boost phase missile defence 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, analysing and predicting performance and conducting optimal system-design plans for the Airborne Laser Program Office, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, through to 2009.

Additional work on the contract includes analysis, systems engineering and modelling 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.