Lockheed and Boeing each will build rockets

Maryland Watch

November 07, 1997

Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp. and Boeing Co. will both build new rockets for the U.S. Air Force, as the service has discarded its plan to select just one producer.

Col. Richard McKinney, director of the program known as the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, said the U.S. Defense Department's civilian leadership has approved changing the program strategy.

The EELV program was set up for the Air Force to be the primary customer, with rockets also being produced for commercial users. That has now been reversed. McKinney said the decision to keep both Boeing and Lockheed Martin was made because future commercial demand -- which could account for the majority of EELV launches -- will be significantly higher than expected.

However, he said the Air Force will continue paying for part of EELV development to guarantee the rockets meet some of the service's unique requirements.

The roughly $1.3 billion that was to have gone to one of the companies will now be divided between them. The first launch is expected in 2001.

Pub Date: 11/07/97

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