In a complex test last summer over the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency and an industry team led by Boeing intercepted and destroyed a threat representative target in flight through space using the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, the nation’s only protection against long-range ballistic missile attacks. The industry team recently delivered an enhanced Ground-Based Interceptor that features the same configuration used in the successful June test. The growing ballistic missile threat demands ready capabilities and this delivery keeps the program on pace to provide the U.S. Missile Defense Agency with 44 ground-based interceptors by 2017.
GMD uses multiple land, sea and space-based sensors to detect and track missile threats early during their boost phase. It then launches three-stage solid boosters equipped with a kill vehicle – the part that destroys the threat – toward the target’s predicted location in space. Outside the earth’s atmosphere, the kill vehicle identifies, tracks and destroys the target warhead using only the force of direct collision.
The GMD program was recently recognized by the international publication, Aviation Week, with the 2015 Laureate Award in Defense. For more information about the successful intercept, check out this video.