Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS)
Using Service (US):
JOINT - Missile Defense Agency (MDA)
Currently in Development and Integration Phase
The Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element is a Missile
Defense Agency program and a key component of the U.S. Ballistic Missile
Defense System (BMDS), providing combatant commanders with the capability to
engage ballistic missiles in the midcourse phase of flight.
The midcourse phase begins when the enemy missile's booster burns out and it begins coasting in space towards its target. This phase, compared to boost or terminal, allows significant time for sensor viewing from multiple platforms. The midcourse phase can last as long as 20 minutes, which provides multiple engagement opportunities for hit-to-kill interceptors to destroy the incoming ballistic missile outside the atmosphere. Any debris remaining after the intercept will burn up when entering the atmosphere. GMD is in many ways similar to THAAD, which is a BMD system designed to intercept ballistic missiles in the terminal phase of flight.
The Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) is made up of a three-stage, solid fuel booster and an exo-atmospheric kill vehicle (EKV). When launched, the booster missile carries the kill vehicle toward the target's predicted location in space. Once released from the booster, the 152 pound (69 kg) kill vehicle uses data received in-flight from ground-based radars and its own on-board sensors to hit the incoming missile directly by ramming the warhead with a closing speed of approximately 15,000 mph (24,000 km/h).
A key component of GMD, the Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) radar is a midcourse fire control sensor. For siting flexibility, the radar is installed on a re-locatable semi-submersible platform. The radar performs cued acquisition, target tracking, discrimination, and engagement hit assessment.
Interceptors are currently deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The GMD Fire Control System consists of fire control nodes at Fort Greely and at the Missile Defense Integration and Operations Center (MDIOC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. All GMD components communicate through the GMD communications network, a secure data and voice communications system using both satellite communications (SATCOM) and a 20,000-mile fiber-optic communications network that interfaces with BMD radars and other sensors. The 49th Missile Defense Battalion at Fort Greely and the 100th Missile Defense Brigade at MDIOC operate the GMD systems.
The GMD concept has been in development since 1998 and is based on technologies pioneered by the MDA in the 1980s and 1990s. Boeing will lead the industry team in the development, deployment, integration and testing of the GMD weapon system, building on its experience of supporting the Missile Defense Agency . As the prime contractor and systems integrator for the GMD program since 2001, Boeing develops, integrates, tests, deploys, and sustains the GMD components. In December 2011, the MDA awarded the Boeing and Northrop Grumman team a $3.48 billion development and sustainment contract for future work on the GMD program through 2018. The Boeing-Northrop Grumman team was selected over the Lockheed Martin-Raytheon team.
Apart from Boeing, the GMD industry team consists of Raytheon (Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle + SBX radar), Northrop Grumman (BMC2), Orbital Sciences Corp. (booster vehicles), Bechtel (facilities design and construction), and Teledyne Technologies (integrated systems testing capabilities and technical services). Also, Aerojet provides liquid propulsion divert and attitude control propulsion systems for the GBI. In July 2012, Raytheon was awarded a $636 million contract to provide Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicles for GMD. The contract extends through November 2018 and includes EKV development, fielding, testing, system engineering, integration, configuration management, equipment manufacturing, and operation and sustainment.
Extensive ground and flight testing has successfully demonstrated the GMD system's performance against long-range ballistic missile targets. To date, the system has completed a total of eight successful intercept tests. GMD flight testing was halted in early 2011 following a failed intercept in December 2010 caused by a guidance error. After two years, testing was resumed on January 26, 2013, at Vandenberg AFB with the launch of a Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI) carrying a next-generation EKV. According to Boeing, the test measured the EKV's performance and data gathered during the test will be used to validate the EKV's design.
Unknown. Program currently in development phase.
The GMD provides combatant commanders with the capability to defend the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, against long range ballistic missiles during the midcourse phase of flight.
Continues the development and sustainment of the GMD weapon system, which includes the deployment of 26 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) at Fort Greely, Alaska, and 4 GBIs at Vandenberg AFB, in California. Provides for the continued use of the flight test rotation plan, where older fielded Ground Based Interceptors will be configured for flight testing to support the Integrated Master Test Plan (IMTP) requirements. Continues the Stockpile Reliability Program (SRP) and component aging testing in order to understand the health of the deployed assets. Completes Missile Field 2 in a 14-silo configurations by the end of 2011.
Supports the development and testing and deployment of 26 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) at Fort Greely, Alaska, and 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. Completes post flight test analysis of the Flight Test Ground Based Interceptor - 06b mission and concludes the GMD Return to Intercept program. Continues manufacturing of Capability Enhancement II GBIs and upgrades to the deployed Capability Enhancement I GBIs. Provides for the continued use of the flight test rotation plan, where older CE-I GBIs will be configured for flight testing to support the Integrated Master Test Plan. Continues the Stockpile Reliability Program (SRP) and component aging testing in order to understand the health of the deployed assets. Continues design for additional GBIs that will be used to maintain the operational inventory as future testing assets are required. Completes the preliminary design efforts and initiates construction efforts for an In-Flight Interceptor Communications System Data Terminal at Fort Drum, New York.
Sources Used: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Missile Defense Agency (MDA),
The Boeing Company, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, and Aerojet.
Last Update: February 8, 2013.
By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard (www.kostergaard.com)
Boeing: Ground-based Midcourse Defense
Northrop Grumman: Ground-based Midcourse Defense
Missile Defense Agency: Ground-based Midcourse Defense
Raytheon: Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV)
Raytheon: Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX)
Missile Defense Agency (MDA): GMD Photos & Videos
YouTube: GMD | YouTube Videos
Fact Sheet: Boeing | GMD Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet: Northrop Grumman | GMD Fact Sheet
Fact Sheet: Missile Defense Agency | GMD Fact Sheet
GMD U.S. Defense Budget Charts:
|Budget data coming soon.|
Primary Function: Hit-to-kill missile