On Friday, the U.S. Department of Defense announced that it has awarded General Dynamics (NYSE:GD) C4 Systems a $9.4 million firm-fixed-price contract to support the Remote Rekey Modernization Program, or RRK.

The U.S. Air Force set up RRK in May 2009 under its Cryptologic Programs Systems Group, aiming to "enable authorized Air Force personnel at centralized facilities to remotely manage cryptographic keys controlling encryption equipment located throughout the continental United States, Hawaii, and Alaska." The Air Force uses such encryption to secure access to the Identify Friend or Foe system, and similar systems used in defending U.S. airspace from intrusion.

RRK was originally envisioned as a six-year, $30 million program and was awarded to General Dynamics, leading a team that includes SAIC (UNKNOWN:SAI.DL) and also U.K. defense contractor Ultra Electronics Holdings. Design and development work was scheduled to take three years, with implementation work at Air Force Northern Command Air Defense Systems to begin in 2013. General Dynamics has advised that if the Air Force exercises all contract options under the original contract, the value of the work could rise as high as $50 million.

Work on the current segment of the program is expected to be complete by next Jan. 31.