(Bloomberg) -- Lockheed Martin Corp. beat rival Northrop Grumman Corp. in a $17 billion contest to continue development and eventual production of a new warhead to replace the current ones used on US missile interceptors in California and Alaska, according to the US Missile Defense Agency.

The system in California and Alaska is aimed at fending off an intercontinental ballistic missile fired by an adversary such as North Korea. It isn’t designed to stop waves of missiles that could be fired by China or Russia.

The Missile Defense Agency said in a statement Monday that it’s “confident in this decision based on the technical maturity of the solutions, objective contractor-provided performance data, technical rigor in the design development process and early testing built into the program from the onset.”

The US intends to deploy the new Next Generation Interceptor no later than the end of 2028. Lieutenant General Heath Collins, head of the agency, told a congressional subcommittee last week that both competing teams “successfully completed their Preliminary Design Reviews.”

The new interceptor is intended to correct the mistakes of a failed warhead program that spanned the Obama and Trump administrations. It was canceled in August 2019 after $1.2 billion was spent on the project, which was meant for deployment in 2023. 

Northrop Grumman spokesman Lindsey Borg directed questions to the Missile Defense Agency. Lockheed had no immediate comment on its victory in the competition.

(Updates with comment from Missile Defense Agency in third paragraph)

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