The Missile Defense Agency is getting ready to extend Boeing’s [BA] development and sustainment contract (DSC) for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system another year due to delays in the Ground Test (GT)-08 campaign that extend past the current contract lasting through late 2023.
Boeing has held the DSC contract for the GMD system for over a decade, but last year MDA said it was looking to develop a new GMD contracting architecture to split the DSC work into five separate contracts, an effort called
GM Futures: the GMD Weapons System; systems integration, test and readiness; and three sole-source contracts for the in-service fleet (Defense Daily, April 21, 2021).
However, MDA is now saying it will extend Boeing’s work a while longer.
According to a contracting notice by MDA, a delay in the Ground Test (GT)-08a test (the Increment 6B.1 fielding campaign) “beyond the incumbent contractor’s control drove adjustments to follow-on ground tests.”
Therefore, Ground Test Integrated (GTI)-08b had its schedule pushed to the third quarter of fiscal year 2023 through the first quarter of FY ‘24 and Ground Test Distributed (GTD)-08b is scheduled for the second quarter of FY ‘24.
The agency said this MDA GT Replan – Course of Action (COA) 1 — was approved by the director of MDA in January and impacts the manager’s ability to complete Increment 6B.2 and Launch Management Systems (LMS) 8D software as planned within the current DSC and will require an extension of multiple Contract Line Item Numbers (CLIN) beyond December 2023, with some extending up to 11 months to November 2024.
Given these factors, MDA is conducting market research, seeking alternate sources that can finish the GT-08 campaign test GTD-08b, verification testing of LMS 8D software, the GMD component of Missile Defense System Increment 6B.2 and complete retrofit of new Launch Site Components and Launch Support System (LSS) hardware and software in all missile fields for the GMD program.
If no alternatives are found, which appears likely given Boeing’s long history in the program, MDA intends to issue a modification to the current DSC contract that extends to November 2024. The agency underscored the period performance for the aforementioned projects are planned to last from December 2023 to November 2024. All responses to the sources sought notice is due by March 16.
MDA said the operational capability baseline (OCB) date for Increment 6B.2 is now delayed to the fourth quarter of FY ‘24, after the agency completes all the analysis from the GT-08b ground test campaign. Increment 6B.2 covers ground systems software and hardware updates including additional mid-term discrimination, additional hit assessment and 2/3 stage interceptor capabilities, full replacement of the legacy launch site components (LSCs), and upgraded servers for the In-Flight Interceptor Communications System Data Terminals and GMD Fire Control.
The notice added that given the results of the GT Replan action development of the LMS 8C software was also delayed. Once the OCB of the LMS 8C software is finished in the fourth quarter of FY ‘23, MDA and Boeing will start retrofitting new LSCs and LSSs in the missile fields at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif., which is expected to be completed by the fourth quarter of FY ‘24.
LMS 8D verification testing, operational capability baseline, and operational deployment of these GMD systems will also be delayed until after the current contracted period of performance but is planned to be complete by November 2024, MDA said.
“The LMS 8D software is necessary for the deployment and operational utilization of a new GBI configuration,” the agency said.
Despite the likely extension of the current Boeing DSC, the Pentagon has been exploring options to change the current structure for years.
In 2018, DoD said it decided not to replace Boeing as prime integrator for the GMD system after concluding doing so at the time would add an unacceptable level of risk (Defense Daily Jan. 18, 2018).
That decision came after MDA used an independent review team of outside experts to evaluate the development, operations, sustainment and production (DOSP) strategy and agency readiness to execute the strategy from FY ‘18 to ‘22. They concluded MDA was not ready for taking over that role while also developing incremental capabilities like new radars and kill vehicles.
Subsequently, in 2018 Boeing won a $6.56 billion modification to extend that preexisting DSC contract through 2023 (Defense Daily, Feb. 12, 2018).
According to a $4.1 billion modification award in 2019, MDA partially definitized that contract, raising the total DSC contract value to nearly $11 billion (Defense Daily, March 25, 2019).