updated 11/12/2010 1:43:10 PM ET 2010-11-12T18:43:10

Northrop Grumman Corp. said Friday it has been awarded a $64 million contract by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence to design and develop an upgraded airborne defense system used by the agency's Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft.

The Identification Friend or Foe Interrogator program is used by the Royal Air Force Air Command at Waddington, a base in Lincolnshire, England.

It provides a long-range, rapid early warning and detection capability allowing discrimination between friendly and hostile forces and is used in the RAF's Sentry AWACS aircraft.

Work will be performed under Northrop Grumman's existing Sentry support program. It will be the largest program modification the company has carried out so far for the Sentry aircraft fleet.

The work will be carried out at RAF Waddington, UK as well as at Northrop Grumman's facilities in Herndon, Va.; Warner Robins, Ga.; and Melbourne, Fla.

Northrop Grumman is on contract until 2025 to support the Sentry aircraft. The company acts as the design organization, providing long term UK-based technical support to the program with 50 engineers located at RAF Waddington.

The company also provides the radar and technical support for the radar.

Northrop Grumman shares fell $1.38, or 2.2 percent, to $62.69 in early afternoon trading.

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