Access Control and Fire

Ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) weapon system in development

05 August 2022

U.S. military ballistic missile defense experts have chosen Northrop Grumman Corp. to develop the next Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) Weapon System (GWS) program to help protect the continental U.S. from nuclear ballistic missile attack.

Officials of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) in Huntsville, Alabama, announced a potential $3.3 billion five-year contract with the Northrop Grumman Mission Systems segment in Huntsville, Alabama, to field the next GMD Weapon System.

Source: Northrop GrummanSource: Northrop Grumman

The GMD is the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system for intercepting incoming warheads in space during the midcourse phase — or roughly halfway between launch and impact. The GMD is deployed at Fort Greely, Alabama, and Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, and has interceptors and sensors on land, at sea and in orbit.

Northrop Grumman will handle GMD Weapon System engineering, design, development, integration, testing and fielding of software and hardware, new requirements like the Next-Generation Interceptor (NGI),and evolving threats.

The GMD Weapon System develops integrated battle plans based on sensor data. It consists of the GMD fire-control system that provides threat assessment and engagement planning; GMD communication network that links GMD to external sensors and systems; GMD launch management that is the pre-launch interface between the GMD fire control and the interceptor; and the GMD in-flight interceptor communication system that connects the GMD fire control and the interceptor to update the missile during flight.

Northrop Grumman will craft an open and modular GMD Weapon System architecture that involves radars, space sensors, missile interceptor weapons, and a command and control system.

Northrop Grumman will do the work in Huntsville, Alabama, and is expected to be finished by July 2027.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@globalspec.com


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