Alliant Techsystems Inc. has received a contract from the U.S. Air Force that could generate up to $81 million for the company over the next five years.
Under the agreement the Space Development and Test Directorate, ATK personnel in Utah will test-fire, take apart and analyze surplus motors originally designed for the Minuteman and Peacekeeper missiles to determine whether they can be used to power Minotaur rockets, which are capable of putting small satellites into low-Earth orbit.
"This is an important contract for us," said Lamberth Blalock, vice president of Air Force programs for ATK's aerospace group. "While it won't lead to an increase in employees, it will help us to stabilize our existing workforce."
Blalock estimated that 20 to 25 ATK employees at the company's plants in Box Elder County and in Magna will work on the initial one-year contract, which is expected to generate about $5 million for ATK.
Blalock noted that if all of the contract options are exercised by the Air Force options also include disposing of ICBM motors no longer suitable for flight and developing additional components as needed work would run through November 2017 and the contract would be worth as much as $81 million.
ATK has performed similar work for the Air Force, although that effort was conducted under five separate contracts with ATK holding four of them. "This contract consolidated five contracts into one," Blalock said.
The motors to be tested range in age from 25 years to 50 years. "The useful life of a (solid-fuel) motor is dependent on its application and is determined by aging and surveillance programs like this one," said Hillary Searle, a spokeswoman for ATK.