The Pentagon has delayed by half a year the award of a long-term maintenance contract for its Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system in locations including Alaska and California.

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said yesterday the GMD development and sustainment contract, for which a Boeing [BA]-Northrop Grumman [NOC] team and Lockheed Martin [LMT]-Raytheon [RTN] are competing, is now pegged for November of this year. When MDA released the request for proposals (RFP) for an anticipated seven-year contract in December 2010, a contract award was expected at the end of May 2011.

“The Source Selection Authority has determined that it is in the best interest of the government to ensure rigorous and comprehensive proposals by industry, and evaluation by the government, by extending the anticipated award date into November of this year,” the MDA said yesterday in a statement.

Agency spokesman Richard Lehner told Defense Daily the reason for the delay for the contract, which was rebid, is “the evaluation is still ongoing.”
Some estimates placed the GMD development and sustainment contract at $600 million each year. The MDA maintained yesterday the “award amount will be proposed by the companies in their respective proposals.”

According to the December 2010 RFP, the contract would cover “the future development; fielding; test; systems engineering, integration and configuration management; equipment manufacturing and refurbishment; training; and operations and sustainment support for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system and associated support facilities.” The GMD system-of-systems includes ground-based interceptors (GBI) and silos, as well as sensor, testing, launch, communications, and support equipment. It has sites in Alaska, California, Colorado, and Alabama. It is intended to protect the United States from intercontinental ballistic missiles .

The MDA, in the December 2010 solicitation, anticipated a seven-year period of performance with provisions for multiple cost-reimbursement-type pricing arrangements–including cost-plus-award-fee, cost-plus-incentive-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and fixed-price-incentive-fee deals.

The rival Lockheed Martin [LMT]-Raytheon [RTN] and Boeing [BA]-Northrop Grumman [NOC] bidders submitted their initial proposals in January.

Boeing hopes to secure the new contract after working as the prime contractor for the development, deployment, integration, and testing of the GMD weapon system since 2001. Northrop Grumman, which is responsible for designing and deploying the command-and-control systems that form the backbone of the GMD ground system, has been part of the Boeing GMD team for more than 10 years.

Lockheed Martin wants to be the prime contractor and systems integrator, leading its team with Raytheon in performing work at major GMD sites across the country. Under its January proposal, Raytheon would work on the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) and provide systems engineering, development, modeling and simulation, operations and sustainment, manufacturing, testing and training. Its teams includes an array of large and small companies, including ATK Aerospace Systems and Harris Corp.

The MDA has been grappling with two GBI test failures last year, both tied to the EKV (Defense Daily, May 26). The Pentagon has halted production of the vehicle while new tests are planned.

Lehner said the pushed-back date for the GMD development and sustainment contract “has nothing to do with any budget delays.” The overall GMD program had been impacted, as were many Pentagon efforts, by Congress’ inability to pass a fiscal year 2011 budget until April of this year, six months late.