America’s Missile-Hunting Defense System Getting Better, Will Cost $3.7 Billion

Now that America has a new president in the White House, enemy countries worldwide are flexing their muscles trying to impress him. This week, for instance, North Korea went back to its old habits and launched several missiles to make itself heard.
Rendering of the NGI in action 1 photo
Photo: Lockheed Martin
Although not connected to what happens over in Asia, the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) announcement that the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) missile defense system is moving ahead is more than assuring.

NGI is an upgrade to the existing Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) anti-ballistic missile system. The contract, assigned to Lockheed Martin and partner Aerojet Rocketdyne, is worth $3.7 billion and covers the development of an interceptor system, its booster, and hit-to-kill payload.

“We are excited and proud the MDA entrusted Lockheed Martin to lead the development of this game-changing system that will greatly improve our nation's security for decades to come," said in a statement Sarah Reeves, vice president of Next Generation Interceptor Program at Lockheed Martin.

"We have been working toward supporting never-fail missions such as NGI for decades, and our team has the expertise and shared vision required to deliver on the MDA's need to evolve GMD."

NGI will launch if need be from the silos located in Ft. Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. It is meant to be the first line of defense of the nation against intercontinental ballistic missiles and was conceived as a layered missile defense architecture.

The parties involved did not say when the system should be up and running, but Lockheed Martin suggests the first interceptor “will be fielded ahead of the nation's need.”

Separately, Northrop Grumman too announced it had been selected, alongside Raytheon, to conduct “rapid development and flight test of an interceptor designed to defend the nation against the most complex long-range threats.”

Below is a short video Lockheed Martin released back in February showing how the whole thing is supposed to work. Well, “showing” might be an overstatement, as we’re not actually being shown anything, for obvious reasons. Still, the imagined dialog starring a male and a female voice reveals the stages the missile defense system has to go through for a successful mission.

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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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