Boeing has announced that they are teaming up with General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems and Aerojet Rocketdyne for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) contract to build the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI). This system will intercept and destroy incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) aimed at the United States and be a critical element of the MDA’s proposed missile defense system. Northrop Grumman will also serve as a component supplier should the bid prove successful.
Currently, the continental United States first-line of ICBM defense rests on a few dozen Ground Based Interceptors (GBI), based at Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base.
This system, though able to deal with individual or small ICBM attacks, is more of a limited proof-of-concept than an actual missile defense. It was supposed to be replaced by the MDAs Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) program. This was cancelled in 2019 after costs spiralled.
Though the intention is for future U.S. ICBM defense to utilise a layered approach, with the interceptors being backed up a second layer covering lower altitudes, these systems are still at the testing stage. It is therefore seen as imperative to begin work on a new primary interceptor.
Speaking of the new team Norm Tew, Boeing Missile and Weapon Systems vice president and general manager, said that: “the Boeing-led team will deliver critical technology to enhance our homeland missile defense. Combined, we bring decades of expertise in proven missile and weapon systems.”
However, the contract will likely be fiercely fought. Other contenders are Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Technologies, who are also teamed with Northrop Grumman. Both these other entrants have released press statements arguing that they are the best choice for delivering America’s next generation of ICBM defense. A contract is expected to be awarded later this year.