NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Army on Thursday awarded Lockheed Martin a $4.8 billion deal for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems, which the U.S. has sent in large numbers to Ukraine.

The U.S. has been providing GMLRS, along with the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System launchers used to fire them, to Ukraine since last summer to help it fend off Russia’s invasion. (The Pentagon has not disclosed the number of GMLRS sent to the country.)

The service plans to ramp up GMLRS production from 6,000 rockets a year to 14,000 and expects to sign a multiyear deal for them in fiscal 2024, thanks to a new congressional authority. Multiyear contracts, usually reserved for expensive and large programs, provide longer-term certainty that can lower the cost.

Work on the contract announced Wednesday is expected to be completed by Oct. 30, 2026, according to the Pentagon notification.

Jay Price, vice president of Lockheed’s Missiles and Fire Control business, said in a statement the company is “working closely with our Army customer and supply chain partners, who are moving with unprecedented speed, to ramp production capacity supporting the urgent need for this highly-reliable, combat-proven rocket.”

In addition to a boosting GMLRS production, Lockheed is also working on an extended range version of the rocket and plans to conduct another flight test of the upgraded system later this year, Becky Withrow, senior business development manager at Lockheed’s missiles business, told Defense News on Thursday at the Army Aviation Association of America’s annual conference here.

Lockheed is hoping the Army will make a decision in 2024 on whether to move the extended range version into the production line, Withrow added.

Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.

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