Boeing to Upgrade U.S. Missile Defense System
Matthew Greenwood posted on April 11, 2019 |

The U.S. Department of Defense is hiring Boeing to expand and improve its Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) anti-ballistic missile system—which has undergone a significant redesign.

The system detects and tracks the boost and midcourse phases of enemy missiles and launches a counter missile that intercepts and destroys the incoming intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Boeing boasts that its GMD technology is the only operational system capable of protecting the entire United States, including Alaska and Hawaii, from an ICBM attack.

The contract is part of a larger deal with the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA): In January, Boeing was awarded a $6.56 billion contract to upgrade the GMD system, bringing the total value of the contract to $10.8 billion. Northrop Grumman and its Innovation Systems arm—formerly Orbital ATK—as well as Raytheon are subcontractors on the project. Boeing has been developing the system for the U.S. government since 2001.

Boeing will create a new network of 20 missile silos, as well as add two new silos to a previously built missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska. An additional 20 interceptor missiles have been deferred by the MDA because they do not currently meet design criteria for the redesigned system. The MDA also deferred another 11 boost vehicles intended as spares and test vehicles.

The aerospace giant is also tasked with manufacturing boost vehicles for launch and testing, development and testing of threat detection software for ground systems, upgrading launch support equipment, ground and flight testing and evaluation, and cyber security support and logistical support for operations.

How midcourse discrimination works in missile defense.

Last month Boeing conducted a successful “two-shot salvo” test of its system: two shot because the first interceptor destroyed a test target in space, while the other destroyed the remaining debris.

“The data collected from this test will enhance missile defense for years to come and solidify confidence in the system,” said said Paul Smith, Boeing’s vice president and program director of Ground-based Midcourse Defense.

The Pentagon is confident that Boeing and its subcontractors will deliver a state-of-the-art missile defense system, claiming when it awarded the contract that the companies “collectively have demonstrated special capabilities and/or expertise and that no other companies would have been able to satisfactorily perform the required services.”

Read more about Boeing’s test of the GMD system at US Missile Defense Proves “Two-Shot Salvo” Successful in Intercepting ICBM.


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