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Comptek Research Inc. has won a $3 million contract from the U.S. Navy to complete a software test laboratory for the Swiss and Finnish military, the West Seneca-based defense electronics firm said Wednesday.

Comptek, which has been working on the project on a task basis, will complete the hardware and software tools that will be used to update the electronic warfare systems that are on the F-18 fighters that the two countries have bought from the United States.

"This contract is significant because it strategically positions us for growth in the international electronic warfare support market," said John J. Sciuto, Comptek's chairman, president and chief executive officer.

The so-called support laboratories, which are not so much laboratories in the conventional sense as a series of computer-based tools used to test and upgrade the electronic warfare systems on the planes, said Christopher A. Head, Comptek's executive vice president. The upgrades can add new information about potential threats to the planes, as well as data that is unique to each country.

Head said Comptek sees this type of work as a major opportunity to bring in additional overseas business as U.S. allies move to upgrade the ships and planes and other equipment that has been purchased over the years from the U.S. government.

"There area a number of U.S. platform ships and planes that have been sold to foreign governments and they're going to need support for the software and hardware," Head said. "This is good work for us."

The contract from the Naval Air Systems Command calls for Comptek to complete the laboratory for the Finnish Air Force and the Swiss Defense Procurement Agency. The work is expected to be completed within a year.

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