A Boeing-led [NYSE: BA] industry team and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) have installed the 10th operational interceptor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, completing the latest in a series of successful steps to protect the United States against long-range ballistic missiles.
The 10th interceptor was emplaced in an underground silo at Fort Greely, Alaska, last weekend. There are now a total of eight interceptors at Fort Greely, in addition to two at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
The emplacement occurred just four days after the GMD program achieved a key goal -- the first flight test of an operationally configured interceptor -- and a month after the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX) began its journey from Texas, where it was assembled, to the Pacific, where it will be based. SBX will help GMD track missile threats and distinguish between decoys and warheads.
The Boeing industry team and MDA plan to build on their 2005 accomplishments by emplacing more interceptors and continuing flight testing in 2006. Next year will also see further radar work, including the integration of SBX into MDA's overall Ballistic Missile Defense System.
"We have made steady progress providing MDA with the system needed to defend our country against a limited ballistic missile attack," said Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems. "However, our job is just beginning. We will continue to bring Boeing's wealth of expertise in system-of-systems integration to bear on the challenges of evolving the system to effectively address current and future missile threats as a part of the government's spiral development plan."
The GMD system, the centerpiece of MDA's multi-layered missile defense architecture, is designed to intercept and destroy long-range ballistic missiles during their midcourse phase of flight. The GMD system also enables robust testing to continue developing the overall missile defense architecture.
As prime contractor and system integrator for the GMD program, Boeing is responsible for all test, development and integration of program system components, including the ground-based interceptor; Sea-Based X-Band Radar; ground segment fire control/communication system; upgrades to various early warning radars; and interfaces to the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, Forward Based X-Band Radar, Defense Support Program early warning satellite system and Command, Control, Battle Management and Communications (C2BMC) element. Other industry program team members include Orbital Sciences Corp., Raytheon and Northrop Grumman.