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Air Force Taps Firms to Develop Cruise Missile Swarms

5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load crews load a AGM-86B air-cruise launch missile trainer onto a B-52H Stratofortess at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 26, 2014. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Aaron D. Allmon II)

5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron load crews load a AGM-86B air-cruise launch missile trainer onto a B-52H Stratofortess at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Feb. 26, 2014. (U.S. Air Force/Tech. Sgt. Aaron D. Allmon II)

January 1, 2018 | Source: Military.com, 28 December 2017, Brendan McGarry

The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp. contracts to develop new, lower-cost cruise missiles capable of flying in swarms to target enemy air defenses.

Lockheed, the world's largest defense contractor, announced it received a five-year $110 million contract from the lab to build the "Gray Wolf."

The weapon will be designed with "networked, collaborative behaviors (swarming) to address Integrated Air Defense (IAD) system threats around the world," according to the release.

The Bethesda, Maryland-based company's "concept for the Gray Wolf missile will be an affordable, counter-IAD missile that will operate efficiently in highly contested environments," Hady Mourad, director of the Advanced Missiles Program at the company's Missiles and Fire Control division, said in the release.

"Our system is being designed to maximize modularity, allowing our customer to incorporate advanced technologies such as more lethal warheads or more fuel-efficient engines, when those systems become available," he added.