The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded Boeing [BA] a $4.1 billion modification Friday, partially definitizing a $6.56 billion January 2018 contract as prime integrator for Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) development and sustainment.

That earlier contract was undefinitized. According to a fact sheet from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for acquisition and sustainment, an undefinitized contract action (UCA) refers to a contract action for which the “terms, specifications, or price are not agreed upon before performance is begun under the action.”

A Missile Defense Agency Ground-Based Interceptor is launched from Vandenburg Air Force Base, Calif. as part of Flight Test Ground-Based Interceptor (FTG)-15. (Photo: Missile Defense Agency)

When DoD definitizes an action, it means the department and contractor have now agreed on these terms, specifications, and price.

This March 22 modification raises the total contract value, including options, up to $10.8 billion.

The January 2018 contract extended Boeing’s management of the GMD program from January 2018 to December 2023 while adding requirements to execute missile defense enhancements like accelerated delivery of a new GMD missile field with 20 new silos and 20 new Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) at the Fort Greely, Alaska, site. MDA plans to reach 64 GBIs total after adding these 20 (Defense Daily, Jan. 31, 2018).

The 2018 award came soon after the agency announced it would not assume the role of prime integrator for the GMD system, deciding doing so would add an “unacceptable level of risk” (Defense Daily, Jan. 18).

The new GBIs are set to feature the new Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV), which aims to improve the reliability of the GBIs. The 20 GBIs were expected to be deployed by the end of 2023.

However, the FY ’19 MDA budget request said the RKV program requires design modifications and testing, setting back the RKV critical design review (CDR) by two years, to 2020 (Defense Daily, March 12). That also set back deployment of the new GBIs to at least 2025.

MDA claimed the RKV design is mature, but MDA Deputy Director Rear Adm. Jon Hill said during the budget release press conference earlier in the month that the agency cannot go through the CDR until it is “satisfied with the robustness of the design, you’ve done all the modeling and simulation, and you believe you’re ready to go to production.”

“We have specific entrance criteria to take us there.  We do not believe as a government team that we are ready to take that step into that Critical Design Review,” so the government team decided the best option was to assess the design “and take the time to do it right,” Hill said.

This new definitized modification reiterates the 20 additional GBIs are being deferred because of a “delay associated with not meeting the entrance criteria for the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) critical design review.” The notice said the new GBIs have a value not to exceed $1.3 billion.

MDA is also keeping a portion of the effort to deliver 11 boost vehicles for flight tests and spares as under the UCA, estimated as not to exceed $474 million.

The announcement said the newly definitized work “includes technical capabilities to expand and improve a state-of-the-art missile defense system to ensure defensive capabilities remain both relevant and current.”

This specifically includes boost vehicle development; providing GBI assets for labs and test events; development, integration, testing and deployment of ground systems software builds to address emerging threats; development and fielding of upgraded launch support equipment; expanded systems testing through all ground and flight testing; cyber security support and testing; and operations and support via performance based logistics approach.

This work will occur in several locations, including Huntsville, Ala.; Fort Greely; Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB), Calif.; Schriever AFB, Colo.; Peterson AFB, Colorado; Cheyenne Mountain Air Station, Colo.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Tucson, Ariz.

MDA said the definitized work will be performed by an industry team led by Boeing and including Northrop Grumman [NOC], Raytheon [RTN] “and many other subcontractors.”

FY 2018 and 2019 research, development, test and evaluation funds of $27 million were obligated at award time.