The MIssile Defense Agency's (MDA) Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) System was designed to provide US Combatant Commanders the capability to engage and destroy limited intermediate- and long-range ballistic missile threats in space to protect the US.
The Boeing-led industry team has a number of activities in progress for GMD development, integration, testing, operations and sustainment activities under a Development and Sustainment Contract that has been extended through 2023. Jerry Drelling, Spokesman for Boeing's GMD Program, told MONCh this June: “We continue to rigorously test and validate system capability and performance. We are also assisting our customer in the development of a best-of-industry Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) equipped with improved reliability and maintainability. Efforts for construction of additional capacity at Fort Greely, AK are also underway. Our essential contributions demonstrate our steadfast commitment to providing the best to our customer and to the US.”
As prime contractor since 1998, Boeing has partnered with the MDA in the design, development, integration, test, deployment and sustainment of all GMD components. Key subcontractors and their responsibilities include: Northrop Grumman (strategic partner): Fire Control and Communications products as well as support to Systems Engineering, Systems Testing & Operations & Sustainment; Raytheon: Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV); Orbital ATK (now Northrop Grumman): GBI Booster vehicles; and finally, Boeing, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin: RKV.
Mr Drelling further emphasised world events show that ballistic missile threats are real, and in partnership with its customer, Boeing has ensured that GMD offers, “warfighters a robust and reliable capability to defend the US 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Increasingly complex ground and flight tests have demonstrated the GMD’s system’s capability and reliability. In fact, the latest success, termed Flight Test GMD (FTG)-15, was the system’s first against an ICBM-range target. From programme inception, Boeing’s design, development, integration, testing and fielding, as well as operations and sustainment of the system, has brought an unmatched level of knowledge and expertise to the GMD system’s capability evolution.”
Marty Kauchak is a retired US Navy Captain, a defence writer, and a regular contributor to MT.