Homeland Missile Defense System Successfully Intercepts ICBM Target
(Source: Missile Defense Agency; issued March 25, 2019)
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in cooperation with the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense, U.S. Northern Command, and elements of the U.S. Air Force Space Command’s 30th, 50th, and 460th Space Wings, conducted a successful test today against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) class target.

This test was the first salvo engagement of a threat-representative ICBM target by two Ground Based Interceptors (GBI), which were designated GBI-Lead, and GBI-Trail for the test.

The GBI-Lead destroyed the re-entry vehicle, as it was designed to do. The GBI-Trail then looked at the resulting debris and remaining objects, and, not finding any other re-entry vehicles, selected the next ‘most lethal object’ it could identify, and struck that, precisely as it was designed to do.

The threat-representative ICBM target was launched from the Reagan Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, over 4,000 miles away from the two GBI interceptors, which were launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

During the test, space, ground and sea-based BMDS sensors provided real-time target acquisition and tracking data to the Command, Control, Battle Management and Communication (C2BMC) system. The two GBIs were then launched and the Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicles successfully engaged the target complex, resulting in an intercept of the target.

Initial indications show the test met requirements. Program officials will continue to evaluate system performance based upon telemetry and other data obtained during the test.

“This was the first GBI salvo intercept of a complex, threat-representative ICBM target, and it was a critical milestone,” said MDA Director Air Force Lt. Gen. Samuel A. Greaves. “The system worked exactly as it was designed to do, and the results of this test provide evidence of the practicable use of the salvo doctrine within missile defense. The Ground-based Midcourse Defense system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat.”

The GMD element of the ballistic missile defense system provides combatant commanders the capability to engage and destroy intermediate and long-range ballistic missile threats to protect the U.S. The mission of the Missile Defense Agency is to develop and deploy a layered ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies and friends from limited ballistic missile attacks of all ranges in all phases of flight.

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U.S. MDA and Boeing Complete Historic Missile Defense Test
(Source: Boeing Co.; issued March 25, 2019)
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. --- Today the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and Boeing for the first time launched two Ground-based Midcourse Defense system interceptors to destroy a threat-representative target, validating the fielded system protects the United States from intercontinental ballistic missiles.

In the test, one interceptor struck the target in space. The second interceptor observed that intercept before destroying additional debris to ensure missile destruction. The test is known as a “two-shot salvo” engagement. The target launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean while the interceptors launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

“The data collected from this test will enhance missile defense for years to come and solidify confidence in the system,” said Paul Smith, Boeing vice president and program director, Ground-based Midcourse Defense. “We continue to increase the system’s reliability as the U.S. government plans to expand the number of interceptors protecting the country.”

GMD interceptors are located at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Alaska’s Fort Greely. The system is an integral part of America’s layered ballistic missile defense architecture. Boeing has been the GMD prime contractor since 2001.

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Raytheon Kill Vehicle Hits ICBM Target in First Dual-Salvo Test
(Source: Raytheon Co.; issued March 25, 2019)
VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. --- For the first time, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, in partnership with the Boeing-led industry team, tested two Raytheon Company Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles (EKV), which destroyed a threat representative intercontinental ballistic missile during a test of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense System, or GMD. One EKV intercepted the target and the other gathered test data in what is known as a "two-shot salvo" engagement.

The EKV system protects the U.S. against long-range ballistic missile attacks by destroying incoming threats safely outside the Earth's atmosphere. The historic test mirrored a real-life scenario where launching more than one interceptor ensured destruction of the threat far away from population centers. If the first kill vehicle makes impact, the second can divert to other material.

"The system is among the most complex, and serves as the first line of ballistic missile defense for the United States," said Dr. Taylor W. Lawrence, Raytheon Missile Systems president.

After receiving tracking and targeting data from Raytheon's Sea-Based X-band radar and AN/TPY-2 radar, the EKV identified the threat, discriminated between the target and countermeasures, maneuvered into the target's path and destroyed it using "hit-to-kill" technology. Both radars play critical roles in supporting the GMD system.

It was the eleventh intercept for the GMD program overall, and the second intercept of an ICBM. The Raytheon kill vehicle family has a combined record of over 40 successful space intercepts.


Raytheon Company, with 2018 sales of $27 billion and 67,000 employees, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, civil government and cybersecurity solutions. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

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Northrop Grumman Ground System Provides Direction for the First Dual Interceptor Test for Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System
(Source: Northrop Grumman; issued March 25, 2019)
VANDENBERG AFB, Calif. --- In an unprecedented display of accuracy, Northrop Grumman Corporation, as the strategic partner to prime contractor, Boeing, successfully provided the weapon task plans for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system Ground Based Interceptors (GBI) during the first dual interceptor mission against an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) target for the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA).

“This critical test of the nation’s defense shield showcases Northrop Grumman’s launch vehicles and our battlefield management and fire control capabilities,” said Dan Verwiel, vice president and general manager, missile defense and protective systems, Northrop Grumman. “We are proud to play an integral role on a system that is so vital to the security of our country. This was a very challenging test and I congratulate the MDA and the entire team on their excellent performance.”

During the GMD flight test, known as FTG-11, a Northrop Grumman-produced ICBM target threat was fired from a launch complex at Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site in the Marshall Islands. Northrop Grumman’s ground systems integrated data from a space sensor with data from land and sea-based radars, created a battle plan, communicated with the silos to launch two ground-based interceptors powered by the company’s boost vehicles, and guided the interceptors to the target where the kill vehicles destroyed the threat.

“Today’s mission was the most complex GMD test conducted thus far,” said Rich Straka, vice president and general manager, launch vehicles, Northrop Grumman. “This was the first time Northrop Grumman had three rockets operating at the same time; two interceptors launched against our target, and the systems worked as planned.”

As the strategic partner of The Boeing Company for the MDA’s GMD program, Northrop Grumman provides the deputy program director and is responsible for the development, integration, operations and sustainment of the ground systems and interceptor boost vehicle. Under contract directly to MDA, Northrop Grumman designs, builds and launches the ICBM target rocket.

Northrop Grumman personnel in Huntsville, Alabama, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, develop the GMD ground systems products. The company’s missile defense interceptors and related target vehicles are primarily produced at the company’s engineering and manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona, with solid rocket motor propulsion manufactured in Magna, Utah, and rocket cases in Clearfield, Utah. Final assembly and integration of the interceptor and targets occur at the company’s facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base and Huntsville. Also, the company provides the kill vehicle’s inertial measurement unit produced in Woodland Hills, California, and Salt Lake City, Utah.


Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide.

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