Lockheed Martin [LMT] has begun jockeying to get a piece of the action in the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) missile shield program now led by prime contractor Boeing [BA], a possible contest that also might include Northrop Grumman [NOC].

The company said yesterday that it had submitted a response to a request for information (RFI) from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), in which the missile-shield agency is seeking industry input as to how to proceed with the future follow-on GMD program.

Boeing and Northrop Grumman earlier announced they responded to the RFI (Defense Daily, Jan. 8).

David Kier, Lockheed Martin vice president and managing director of missile defense, noted in a conference call with reporters that "several of our competitors" are interested in the GMD follow-on. It would be a lesser contract than the original contract to develop the system and build the interceptor and radar sites.

In response to a question, Kier said he isn’t sure how the Lockheed Martin response to the GMD RFI differs from the Boeing response, since he hasn’t seen what Boeing submitted. As to what Lockheed Martin might offer that Boeing doesn’t already provide, Kier said that Lockheed "will respond as appropriate to whatever MDA needs."

MDA is considering how to proceed with this next leg of the program, and Kier said he expects that "in the next couple of weeks we’ll find out where they want to go" with it.

The current Boeing GMD team includes Orbital Sciences [ORB], Raytheon [RTN], Northrop Grumman, Bechtel National and Teledyne Brown Engineering.

Kier discussed several other missile defense systems, including the Lockheed Martin-developed Aegis weapon system, PAC-3 Missile, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System, the Medium Extended Air Defense System (MEADS) and the Multiple Kill Vehicle (MKV) utilize this proven advanced technology to deliver lethality against today’s most dangerous threats.

As for the Middle East, the region may become an increasing sales opportunity for Lockheed Martin. Sales overseas must be coordinated through the U.S. government.

Israel has both the veteran PAC-2 system and the Arrow interceptor, and Lockheed Martin officials have been in discussions with Israel about the PAC-3 system and its capabilities.

Dennis Cavin, vice president of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control business development, noted that many nations have the older PAC-2 missiles and may be interested in upgrading to the PAC-3 system.

Japan, the Netherlands and Germany lead the move, and the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait could be interested in PAC-3.