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For THAAD, Lockheed Martin Hopes 7th Time's the Charm

May 25, 1999|Bloomberg News

Lockheed Martin Corp., the world's largest defense contractor, today will try a seventh time to shoot down a conventional missile during a test of its missile-interceptor system at a New Mexico test site.

The Theater High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, interceptor missile failed in late March, flying past its target. Lockheed paid a $15-million penalty to the government for the failure in the first quarter. A miss today would intensify competition from No. 3 defense contractor Raytheon Co., which is proposing an alternative system mounted on Navy vessels. Lockheed has also been bedeviled by several recent failures with its Titan IV rocket, which prompted an internal review of its missile programs.

"From a financial perspective, it's a nonevent," said Prudential Securities Inc. analyst Todd Ernst. "Psychologically, a successful test would be a welcome relief to what has been a couple rough quarters in terms of mission success."

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