Lockheed wins B-52 modernization work

Lockheed Martin Corp. received a $30 million contract from the Air Force to increase the performance and memory of the B-52H bomber's mission computer, the company said yesterday.

The Bethesda, Md., defense company will produce the mission computer, called the avionics control unit, to replace the aircraft's current computers. The work is part of a contract awarded by the Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.

The replacement hardware and upgraded software will reduce maintenance costs, improve the average time the components will work without failing, and allow future capabilities and missions to be added to the bombers, Lockheed Martin said. The company will complete the first installations in late 2005, with all work to be done by 2009.

"This mission computer upgrade improves the B-52H's ability to deploy new precision weapons, integrate future capabilities and will support the reliability and sustainability of the B-52H until 2040," said Frank Meyer, president of Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Oswego, N.Y.

Lockheed Martin has worked with the B-52 program since the mid-1950s, when the company's Oswego facility designed and built a bombing and navigational system for the aircraft. B-52H bombers are outfitted to launch cruise missiles.

In an unrelated announcement, the company also said yesterday that it delivered a 56,000-cubic-foot, tethered aerostat surveillance system to the Army for use in Iraq. The system is outfitted with various sensors to provide surveillance capabilities in defending ground forces and high-value assets in Baghdad. Lockheed Martin integrated the blimplike aerostat, sensors, ground station and mooring system at its facility in Akron, Ohio.

Lockheed Martin employs 130,000 workers and had 2003 revenue of $31.8 billion. It ranks No. 1 on Washington Technology's 2004 Top 100 List of federal prime contractors.

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