In a test of the US Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system on 30 May, Northrop Grumman’s advanced battle management and launch control capabilities successfully guided the kill vehicle to the first intercept of an ICBM range target.
During the test a ground-based interceptor launched from California against a target missile threat fired from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Northrop Grumman’s GMD fire control system integrated data from multiple sensors to help identify, track, engage and ultimately destroy the target. The company’s in-flight interceptor communications system provided target-track updates to the kill vehicle to ensure it had the most accurate data available prior to engagement. In addition, Northrop Grumman’s command launch equipment effectively launched the interceptor.
“The ICBM target represents a growing threat that is much more sophisticated and challenging for our fire control capabilities,” Dan Verwiel, Vice President and General Manager, Missile Defense and Protective Systems for Northrop Grumman, explained. “While our consistent performance provides greater confidence in the ballistic missile defense system (BMDS), we continue to look for every opportunity to insert innovative, affordable solutions to enhance the BMDS.”
Northrop Grumman is a strategic partner to Boeing for the GMD programme and is responsible for designing, deploying and maintaining the fire control capability for GMD, which includes the fire control system, in-flight interceptor communications system data terminal, communications network equipment and system managers, and command launch equipment.