(Adds official announcement by Pentagon, reaction from
WASHINGTON, June 2 The Pentagon's No. 1
supplier, Lockheed Martin Corp, has won a $915 million
contract to develop a ground-based radar for tracking objects in
space for the U.S. Air Force, beating out a bid from Raytheon Co
The fixed-price contract, which includes an incentive fee,
was announced late on Monday by the Pentagon in its daily digest
of major contract awards.
U.S. military officials have underscored the importance of
the Air Force's Space Fence program, given the growing number of
countries operating satellites in space, China's work on
anti-satellite weapons, and the huge amount of debris in orbit.
The new program will allow the Air Force to increase sharply
its ability to track "space junk" and other smaller objects in
space. Currently the Air Force tracks about 23,000 of an
estimated 500,000 objects in space, but the new program would
allow it to track hundreds of thousands of additional objects.
Plans call for the new system to be based on Kwajalein Atoll
in the Marshall Islands, about 2,100 miles southwest of
Honolulu, Hawaii, and to start operating in September 2018.
Raytheon said it had been notified about the Air Force's
decision, but said it would be inappropriate to comment further
until after it receives a post-decision debrief from Air Force
officials. A company spokesman declined comment on whether the
company would protest the decision.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; editing by Meredith Mazzilli and