WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has awarded BAE Systems a contract for the first two production lots of its Limited Interim Missile Warning System, or LIMWS.

The contract, which is worth $179 million, also includes funding to field the next-generation Missile Warning System, an upgrade on the Army’s Common Missile Warning System.

“Threats are evolving and proliferating at a rapid pace and our aircrews who fly into harm’s way need the most advanced protection systems available,” Chris Austin, director of threat detection solutions at BAE Systems, said in a statement. “These orders follow an intensive two-year development and qualification program, made possible by a strong industry-government partnership focused on achieving an aggressive schedule.”

The company won an initial $98 million contract to produce the systems in April 2018, with the goal of putting the capability onto 400 Black Hawk helicopters. A BAE spokeswoman this week declined to comment on what systems the LIMWS might deploy on. The Army competitively awarded that initial contract to BAE through a quick reaction capability mechanism, which bypasses the traditional lengthy acquisition process.

The core of the upgrade is BAE’s 2-Color Advanced Warning System, or 2CAWS, which the company says includes “an open system processor, two-color infrared sensors for increased range, and a fiber optic A-kit for faster data transmission.” Put simply, the 2CAWS should allow pilots to receive signals of incoming threats more quickly than before, and should be compatible with existing Army missile warning systems.

Work will occur at the company’s Merrimack, New Hampshire, and Huntsville, Alabama, facilities, the latter of which is undergoing upgrades for the project.

Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.

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