Northrop Grumman as the strategic partner to prime contractor, Boeing, successfully provided the weapon task plans for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system Ground Based Interceptors (GBI) during the first dual interceptor mission against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA).
“This critical test of the nation’s defense shield showcases Northrop Grumman’s launch vehicles and our battlefield management and fire control capabilities,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “We are proud to play an integral role on a system that is so vital to the security of our country. This was a very challenging test and I congratulate the MDA and the entire team on their excellent performance.”
During the GMD flight test, known as FTG-11, a Northrop Grumman-produced ICBM target threat was fired from a launch complex at Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site in the Marshall Islands. Northrop Grumman’s ground systems integrated data from a space sensor with data from land and sea-based radars, created a battle plan, communicated with the silos to launch two ground-based interceptors powered by the company’s boost vehicles, and guided the interceptors to the target where the kill vehicles destroyed the threat.
“Today’s mission was the most complex GMD test conducted thus far,” said Rich Straka, vice president and general manager, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman. “This was the first time Northrop Grumman had three rockets operating at the same time; two interceptors launched against our target, and the systems worked as planned.”
As the strategic partner of The Boeing Company for the MDA’s GMD program, Northrop Grumman provides the deputy program director and is responsible for the development, integration, operations and sustainment of the ground systems and interceptor boost vehicle. Under contract directly to MDA, Northrop Grumman designs, builds and launches the ICBM target rocket.
Northrop Grumman personnel in Huntsville, Alabama, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, develop the GMD ground systems products. The company’s missile defense interceptors and related target vehicles are primarily produced at the company’s engineering and manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona, with solid rocket motor propulsion manufactured in Magna, Utah, and rocket cases in Clearfield, Utah. Final assembly and integration of the interceptor and targets occur at the company’s facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Huntsville. Also, the company provides the kill vehicle’s inertial measurement unit produced in Woodland Hills, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah.