The Air Force has awarded Hercules an $86 million contract to upgrade the solid rocket motors for the Titan IV missile, and 70 percent of the work will be done at its Bacchus Works in Utah.
Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who announced the contract, said, "This is a real shot in the arm for Bacchus and what that means for Utah's economy."But he added, "Unfortunately, Hercules will give up another 700 jobs by 1997 unless America seriously revamps its entire launch vehicle program for both military and commercial uses."
Hatch used the announcement to call for the Defense Department to continue pursuing creation of the proposed Low Cost Launch System, for which it has budgeted $200 million. He said it would boost U.S. launch competition against rockets from Japan, France, China and Russia.
"This proposal would create a fleet of four different space vehicles with payloads from 5,000, 20,000, 31,000 and 57,000 pounds," Hatch said.
"The new launchers would use propulsion systems, or rocket motors, now in use with minor technology modifications or upgrades, which would be incorporated into existing Delta II, Atlas II and Titan IV rocket bodies," he said.
Hatch said Hercules has briefed him on the proposal and discussed it with Air Force officials. Hatch said he has scheduled meetings on it next week with Sens. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and has a future meeting scheduled with Commerce Secretary Ron Brown.