Northrop Grumman Corp. will continue work on a military satellite link under a U.S. Navy contract worth $16.9 million and lasting through September 2018.

Some $3 million of the job will be performed in San Diego under the deal, announced Dec. 21. Half the work will be done in Salt Lake City.

The data link goes on the E-6B Mercury flying command post. The military version of the Boeing 707 is meant to be used during times of crisis to communicate with submarines carrying nuclear-tipped missiles and land-based silos holding intercontinental ballistic missiles. The aircraft are based at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma.

The recently awarded deal covers the E-6B Mercury Multi-Role Tactical Common Data Link validation and verification efforts and includes A and B kits, initial spares, spares and installation of the data link into one mission avionics systems trainer.

In an announcement from 2011, Northrop Grumman said that its Multi-Role Tactical Common Data Link was also valuable for surveillance and reconnaissance, and could carry high-definition video.

NAVAIR, the Naval Air Systems Command of Patuxent River, Md., awarded the contract, which was not competitively procured since the Pentagon determined there was only one bidder that could supply a suitable solution.

Northrop Grumman is based in Virginia. Shares of the company trade on the New York Stock Exchange as NOC.