The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has awarded Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems a $59.6 million contract to develop a multi-warhead missile interceptor, the Pentagon said in a contract notice.

Raytheon is competing with Lockheed Martin for an eventual contract to produce the Multi-Object Kill Vehicle, which would mount several kill vehicles — non-explosive warheads that destroy their targets by high-speed impact — on a single booster rocket in order to intercept multiple targets in space.

The Raytheon contract, along with a similar, $53 million contract awarded to Lockheed in March, are part of a so-called technology “risk reduction” phase in which the contractors further develop technology to reduce risks in development and cost.

The Mutltiple-Object Kill Vehicle is expected to take more than a decade to fully develop.

Raytheon already makes the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, or EKV, for the Ground-based Missile Defense system and is competing to produce a redesigned kill vehicle after several flight failures of the EKV.

Separately, the Pentagon said Raytheon has been awarded a $199.8 million contract to produce 317 AIM-9X Sidewinder Block II air-to-air missiles for the Navy and Air Force. The contract also calls for Raytheon to provide 199 Block II captive air-training missiles for the U.S. Navy and Air Force, and for Australia, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Romania and Poland, as well as special air-training missiles, containers and spare parts for the U.S. and several allied nations.

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