Lockheed Martin has received a contract from the US Air Force (USAF) to mature its design for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent’s (GBSD) reentry vehicle (RV).

The company was awarded the $108m contract for the Mark21A Reentry Vehicle (Mk21A) programme’s Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase.

Under the contract, Lockheed Martin will provide a ‘low technical risk and affordable RV’ that can deliver the W87-1 warhead from the GBSD weapon system.

The contract has a potential value of $138m, including an additional potential one-year contract worth $30m.

Lockheed Martin Advanced Strategic Programs vice-president John Snyder said: “It is essential that Lockheed Martin continue our long-standing ICBM partnership with the airforce to provide them with advanced solutions.

“We will continue to demonstrate, through this TMRR, cutting-edge engineering to defeat rogue nation threats.”

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By GlobalData

To deliver the contract, the company will coordinate with the USAF and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

In a statement, Lockheed Martin said: “The Mk21A TMRR contract is a key element of Lockheed Martin’s strategy to remain the airforce’s trusted partner for ICBM Reentry Systems and modernisation of the deterrent triad.”

The company will perform the contract work at King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and other locations. Completion of the work is expected to take place by October 2022.

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, which is the contracting activity, received just one offer for the contract.

In October last year, the USAF issued a request for proposals for the TMRR phase.

The contractor is required to reduce the risk of the design, conduct flight tests and perform integration of the RV into the warhead, according to the USAF solicitation.

GBSD is the USAF’s intercontinental ballistic missile system intended to replace the legacy Minuteman III missiles.