KODIAK (AP) The Alaska Aerospace Development Corp. has been awarded a contract of up to $8 million to handle two or three Missile Defense Agency launches in the next year from the Kodiak Launch Complex.
With similar annual launches planned over the next five years, the sole-source contract could be worth up to $40 million, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
The military also wants to upgrade the Kodiak complex for use in sending off target missiles in tests of the national missile defense system now under development. However, last month it delayed a decision on a final design for new construction at the Kodiak complex.
That delay did not affect Friday's contract announcement because it covers operations only, said Rick Lehner, a Missile Defense Agency spokesman.
''We're using the existing infrastructure that is there already,'' Lehner said. ''We're paying them for launch support services.''
In the decision last month, the missile agency said it would not settle on what to build at the Kodiak complex until the Federal Aviation Administration renews the facility's launch license. The license expires Sept. 26. Military and aerospace corporation officials have said they expect no trouble with the renewal.
The new contract would pay for all range support, security and safety operations for two or three launches, Lehner said. The exact cost is not set because it depends on how many launches are required, but the total is not to exceed $8 million, Lehner said.
Missiles launched from Kodiak will be targets, not interceptors. In its decision last month the agency said it would not send interceptors out of Kodiak. The missiles are the three-stage Minuteman II type, built by Orbital Sciences.
The Missile Defense Agency has launched 10 from of Vandenberg Air Force Base in California without incident, Lehner said.
The missile that blew up shortly after takeoff at Kodiak in November 2001 was a modified three-stage Polaris used as a test target in a different program, Lehner said.
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