January 15. 2013 7:09PM

BAE gets more work for laser-guided missiles

New Hampshire Union Leader

Marine Lance Cpl. Joshua S. Martinez conducts operations over Helmand province, Afghanistan, in October. (COURTESY)

NASHUA - BAE Systems has received another contract for laser-guided, rocket-propelled missile systems, this one for $28 million.

The latest award increases the total BAE contracts for the Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System (APKWS) to $69 million and extends production through 2014, according to a BAE spokesperson, who attributed the newest contract to "continued success in theater."

The company was awarded an initial $41.3 million contract for the APKWS weapons systems in November.

"With this additional Navy order, our Marines in combat will have a continuous supply of APKWS units at their disposal, enhancing their ability to reliably and cost-effectively engage a variety of targets, while minimizing collateral damage," said Joseph Tiano, APKWS program manager at BAE Systems.

"The option was exercised quickly, meaning more systems will go directly to the Marines, who are already using the proven precision-strike capability in theater," he said.

The APKWS rocket fills the gap between the Hellfire missile and unguided rockets. BAE produces the guidance kit that changes a standard unguided rocket into a laser-guided missile.

More than 100 of the APKWS rockets have been fired in action in Afghanistan since the Marines first deployed the weapon in March 2012. None of the APKWS rockets fired has missed its target due to failure after launch, Tiano said.

This latest contract comes after several other large orders for the state's largest manufacturing employer from the Department of Defense or its primary contractors.

In December, BAE was awarded an $81 million contract to produce components for weapon systems designed to protect the United States and its allies against missile attacks, in cooperation with Lockheed Martin. BAE will produce the targeting and detection components for 143 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missiles.

Earlier this month, the company was awarded more than $241 million in work on the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jet project, through Lockheed Martin.

As the prime contractor, Lockheed Martin handles the final assembly of the fighter jet and provides many major components. Its key partners are Northrop Grumman for communication systems, Pratt & Whitney for the main engine, and BAE for electronic warfare, flight control and fuel systems.