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Boeing Responds To MDA Request For Information On Ground-Based Midcourse Defense Program

By | January 7, 2008

      The Boeing Co. [BA] responded to a Missile Defense Agency (MDA) request for information, as MDA seeks industry feedback on the follow-on Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program, a major segment of the overall U.S. ballistic missile defense shield.

      RFI responses will help MDA determine its strategy for the follow-on effort to the current GMD contract. The development portion of the current contract extends to December, while the production portion of the existing contract would continue for several years.

      MDA now is trying to figure out what comes next.

      The team with Boeing as prime contractor will continue to work building the basic system, such as radars and silos in the ground, and providing 54 interceptors that would include 10 interceptors in Europe (assuming Poland and the Czech Republic give their permission to build the European site of the GMD system), an MDA source said.

      After the physical system is built, the remaining work likely would be on a much smaller scale, such as producing more interceptor missiles for the GMD system as existing interceptors are used in tests or to shoot down incoming enemy missiles.

      In seeking RFI responses, MDA is preparing to decide whether its own interests would best be served by continuing the current Boeing-led team arrangement, or whether it might be better for MDA to split the work up and parcel it out to various firms in separate contracts.

      Boeing takes the position that it has done an excellent job of leading the GMD program over several years.

      Increasingly complex ground and flight tests over the past two years have demonstrated the GMD system’s capability and reliability, according to Boeing.

      Boeing as prime contractor has led the GMD industry team, which includes Orbital Sciences Corp. [ORB], Raytheon Co. [RTN], Northrop Grumman Corp. [NOC] unit Mission Systems, Bechtel National Inc. and Teledyne Brown Engineering, from program inception to operations.

      Boeing said the team boasts unmatched readiness that positions it well to continue building on that progress.

      MDA rated Boeing’s work as exceptional during the company’s annual performance evaluation on GMD system development and maintenance, Boeing noted.

      "The GMD team includes partners Orbital, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Bechtel and Teledyne Brown, and each partner brings important elements to the system. However, GMD’s successful performance is not measured by its individual pieces, but rather by how it functions as an integrated system — which would not be achieved without MDA’s vision and Boeing’s extensive integration capabilities and leadership," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of Boeing Missile Defense Systems.

      "Continuing to leverage this proven industry team will guarantee a robust capability our nation can rely on to defend itself against long-range ballistic missiles. We are proud of our continuing role in providing an increasingly robust ballistic missile defense to our warfighters, and we look forward to the opportunity to continue leading this vital component of our nation’s defense."

      GMD is the nation’s only defense against long-range ballistic missiles, with interceptors deployed in underground silos at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and Fort Greely, Alaska. An integral element of the global ballistic missile defense system, GMD also consists of radars, other sensors, command-and-control facilities, communications terminals and a 20,000-mile fiber optic communications network.

      The U.S. government has placed Boeing under contract to develop a GMD interceptor site for Europe. The GMD program has had seven successful intercept tests, including intercepts with operationally configured interceptors in September 2006 and September 2007, Boeing noted. In other words, GMD works.

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