Next-Gen Interceptor: A New Layer Of Missile Defense

July 31, 2020

Breaking Defense

Ballistic missiles in the inventories of our adversaries pose an existential threat to the United States. The homeland’s fielded Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) fleet, based at Fort Greely and Vandenberg Air Force Base, provides our first line of defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). However, it is an aging, operational prototype system which is insufficient to meet the growing threat. With the termination of Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) program and a replacement fielding in the late 2020s, the United States must invest now to field layered systems that will keep pace with the evolving missile capabilities of these adversaries.

The MDA, in consultation with United States Strategic Command, United States Northern Command and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, has initiated the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) acquisition to combat this evolving threat. The MDA released a final request for proposal on April 24 highlighting the strategic importance of meeting mission objectives by establishing realistic and achievable technical, cost-oriented and scheduling goals. NGI will become the homeland’s first line of defense against ballistic missiles and deliver on this critical mission.

NGI is designed to be an operational weapon system that meets the current rogue nation ballistic missile threat with the capacity to outpace future evolving threats arrayed against our homeland. Previous programs were rushed into development resulting in missiles which required continuous, expensive upgrades and prevented the program from keeping pace with the threat. The RKV did not provide a substantial increase in the capability to meet the future threat. RKV’s fielding was pushed beyond 2025 and was terminated after critical components failed to meet basic systems engineering requirements.

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