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Lockheed contracts approved by SenateBy Clif Lusk

Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control Pike County Operations will be bringing in $253.2 million in federal government contracts during the 2004 federal fiscal year.

U.S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee said the Department of Defense appropriations bill won Senate approval Thursday, and was awaiting signature by Pres. George W. Bush.

"I am very pleased that we have approved funding for these important defense programs. They are critical to the stability of our nation's military infrastructure and readiness. Today's approval demonstrates our commitment to national security," Shelby said.

Approved under the appropriations bill was $133.1 million to procure Javelin missiles, $35.1 million for Hellfire missile procurement and $85 million for the procurement of the Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM).

The Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) is an autonomous, long-range, conventional, air-to-ground, precision standoff missile for the U.S. Air Force and Navy. JASSM is designed to destroy high-value, well-defended, fixed and relocatable targets. JASSM's significant standoff range keeps Air Force and Navy aircrews well out of danger from hostile air defense systems. The missile's mission effectiveness approaches single- missile target kill capability, according to information released by Lockheed Martin.

"The Senate also approved $35.1 million for the procurement of Hellfire missiles. These missiles help to ensure our Army and Air Force aviators as the best equipped warriors in the sky and are produced at the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy," Shelby said.

The largest procurement was for Javelin, the world's premier shoulder-fired anti-armor system. Javelin automatically guides itself to the target after launch, allowing the gunner to take cover and avoid counterfire. Soldiers or Marines can reposition immediately after firing, or reload to engage another threat, the company said.

"Javelin missiles give our ground forces a critical tactical fire capability and are produced at the Lockheed Martin facility in Troy," said Shelby.