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Navy awards Raytheon $1b contract

Firm will create combat systems for new destroyer

Waltham defense contractor Raytheon Co. yesterday won a nearly $1 billion Navy contract that will take its combat systems for the new DDG 1000 Zumwalt-class destroyer from design into production.

The contract had been widely anticipated since 2005, when Raytheon beat out rival Lockheed Martin Corp., the Pentagon's largest weapons maker, to be selected as prime contractor for the radar, sonar, communications, and electronics gear on the guided missile destroyer.

But it had been delayed several times as Raytheon has continued with its design work on systems for the 14,000-ton vessel, its single largest development program. Raytheon has assigned about 2,500 employees in Tewksbury, Andover, Portsmouth, R.I., and elsewhere to the DDG 1000 program. While the destroyers are projected to cost $3 billion apiece, it has yet to be determined how many will be built.

Yesterday, the Navy said it had awarded Raytheon's Integrated Defense Systems division in Tewksbury a contract worth up to $994.3 million for production and engineering work on the destroyer, named after the late Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr. The ships are to be built at General Dynamics Corp.'s Bath Iron Works shipyard in Maine and a Northrop Grumman Corp. yard in Mississippi.

The work on the new contract, which will be done in New Jersey, Florida, and Indiana in addition to New England, is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. The long-awaited contract was awarded by the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington.

The new destroyer, which will be 58 percent larger than the current DDG-51 class vessels, is designed to carry up to 80 Tomahawk cruise missiles and cruise at 30 knots. It will deploy new technologies ranging from dual-band radar developed by Raytheon to an advanced gun system designed by BAE Systems. While both Raytheon and the Navy have pegged it as a key program for 21st-century technology, the program has drawn criticism from some lawmakers for its cost.

Robert Weisman can be reached at weisman@globe.com.

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