Lockheed Martin has teamed with Aerojet Rocketdyne on a proposal to compete for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) contract for the Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
Lockheed Martin is offering an interceptor designed from the ground up as an all-up-round to address all elements of environmental survivability from day one. Aerojet Rocketdyne will power the primary propulsion of the intercetor missile.
“We support the MDA’s vision for NGI, particularly in light of the Redesigned Kill Vehicle termination and a fast-moving threat environment. Evolution of our deployed Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system to defend the homeland is critical,” said Sarah Reeves, vice president of Missile Defense Programs at Lockheed Martin. “The strength of our team comes from an understanding of how to design and sustain radiation hardened strategic systems, the application of advanced digital engineering, and unmatched hit-to-kill performance. This includes more than 100 successful intercepts and over 50 successful target missions.”
“Aerojet Rocketdyne has provided propulsion on the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system since its inception, and we’re pleased to partner with Lockheed Martin on this next generation opportunity,” said Eileen P. Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president. “Today, we’re evolving our propulsion solutions with innovative advanced technologies to improve performance at lower costs.”
“Lockheed Martin looks forward to disclosing the full composition of the NGI team in the near term. The team includes a balance of GMD incumbents and technology leaders best suited to deliver on this never-fail mission”, said a company statement.
Next-Generation Interceptor (NGI) Program
The Next-Generation Interceptor (NGI) program replaces the canceled Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) program which was terminated by the Under Secretary of Defense (Research and Engineering) Dr. Michael Griffin in August 2019 subsequent to the submission of the fiscal year 2020 budget request.
Unlike the RKV program which sought to replace just the kill vehicle (Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV)) of the Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) missiles, the NGI program will replace the entire GBI interceptor. The GBI interceptor missiles are part of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system which is designed to defend the U.S. from long-range ballistic missile attacks.
Once operationalized, the NGI will be the core of DOD’s ground-based interceptor system for homeland defense.
The Missile Defense Agency released the Request for Proposal (RFP) for the NGI program on April 24, 2020.
Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD)
The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is the United States’ only operationally deployed missile defense program capable of defending the entire U.S. homeland (including Alaska and Hawaii) against long-range ballistic missile attacks.
GMD is designed to detect, intercept and destroy long-range ballistic missiles during their midcourse phase of flight. The system provides early detection and tracking during the boost and midcourse phase, as well as target discrimination, precision intercept and destruction of the target through force of collision. GMD is an integral element of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s layered ballistic missile defense architecture.
The GMD system is deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California comprising 44 GBI interceptors. As prime contractor, Boeing designs, produces, integrates, tests and sustains all GMD components deployed across 15 time zones.
Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI)
The Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) is a multi-stage, solid fuel booster with an EKV payload. When launched, the booster carries the EKV toward the target’s predicted location in space. Once released from the booster, the EKV uses guidance data transmitted from Ground Support & Fire Control System components and on-board sensors to close with and destroy the target warhead. The impact is outside the Earth’s atmosphere using only the kinetic force of the direct collision to destroy the target warhead.