VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif.: The Boeing Company, industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) today completed a successful flight test of the two-stage ground-based interceptor (GBI) of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, the United States’ only long-range ballistic missile defense system.
“Having supported the MDA on GMD since its inception, through fielding and sustainment, it is a tremendous honor to watch the system continue to evolve with this successful two-stage flight test,” said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager of Boeing Strategic Missile & Defense Systems. “As world events continue to show that ballistic missile threats are real, this system offers U.S. warfighters a robust and reliable hedge-capability to defend their homeland. Boeing is proud to be a part of GMD’s continuing success.”
The test began at 3:25 p.m. Pacific time when the two-stage GBI lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The GBI — carrying an operational Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) payload — measured performance data for the new two-stage design as well as how an operationally configured EKV operates under stressful boundary conditions. The two-stage GBI has more than 95 percent commonality with the three-stage GBIs currently deployed in underground silos at Vandenberg and at Fort Greely, Alaska, and uses existing flight-qualified components.
“Today’s test not only provided unique data that will allow us to characterize two-stage GBI performance, which enhances our models and simulations, but also took advantage of having an operational EKV on the booster to gather data on the entire GMD system,” said Norm Tew, Boeing vice president and GMD program director. “By drawing on our unmatched expertise on the system and working with our government, military and industry partners, we have demonstrated a flexible capability for an already proven defense system.”
Boeing has been the prime contractor for GMD since 2001. Leading the design and development of the system, Boeing delivered an operational capability in just two and a half years. The company also continues to lead GMD’s operations and sustainment efforts.
GMD is an integral element of the Missile Defense Agency’s overall layered ballistic missile defense architecture. It defends the United States against long-range ballistic missiles, with interceptors deployed in underground silos at Vandenberg and at Fort Greely. GMD also consists of radars, other sensors, command-and-control facilities, communications terminals and a 20,000-mile fiber optic communications network.
Boeing’s industry partners on the GMD team include Raytheon Co., Orbital Sciences Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world’s largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide.