The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is “very close” to approving an acquisition strategy for its Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) in which it will pick, then compete, a government-designed approach selected from industry.

MDA Director Navy Vice Adm. James Syring told reporters Monday the agency will compete EKV production in 2018 after selecting what it likes best from the three companies that offered concepts: Lockheed Martin [LMT], Boeing [BA] and Raytheon [RTN]. The companies would then compete to produce the government’s design.

The GMD interceptor launch in June. Photo: Raytheon
The GMD interceptor launch in June. Photo: Raytheon

Each company’s proposals had positives and negatives, Syring said at the Pentagon. He added that MDA would incorporate the “best of all three” in the government design.

Boeing is the prime contractor for the GMD portion of the program while Raytheon designed the EKV. The program has come under fire for quality control problems on the EKV (Defense Daily, Sept. 9).

MDA on Monday released its budget request for fiscal year 2016. MDA requests $8.1 billion for FY ’16, a 3 percent increase from the $7.6 billion provided in FY ’14, according to budget documents released Monday.

MDA is requesting $1.8 billion for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program, which includes the planned deployment of 40 ground-based interceptors (GBI) at Fort Greely, Alaska; and four GBIs at Vandenberg AFB, Calif.; for a total of 44 GBIs by the end of 2017. MDA said the budget continues to fund flight testing supporting the Integrated Master Test Plan (IMTP) requirements and enhances the Stockpile Reliability Program (SRP) and component aging testing in order to understand and maintain the health of deployed assets.

MDA is requesting $279 million to continue development of the GMD redesigned kill vehicle (RKV) while also requesting funding to conduct design and reliability characterization of the current GBI fleet.

MDA also requests $464 million for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) in procurement funding, which includes the purchase of 30 THAAD interceptors and training devices for the THAAD institutional training base at Fort Sill, Okla. This procurement supports the fielding of THAAD batteries, based on warfighter demand and operational need. By the end of FY ’16, MDA said it will deliver 48 additional THAAD interceptors to the Army, for a total of 155 interceptors delivered. THAAD is developed by Lockheed Martin [LMT].

MDA requests $500 million to develop, deploy and sustain AN/TPY-2 radars, the Upgraded Early Warning Radars (UEWR) and the Cobra Dane Radar. The military services and combatant commands, with logistical support from MDA, are operating AN/TPY-2 radars (forward-based mode) in Japan, Israel, Turkey and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), according to MDA. These radars contribute to the regional defense and some also provide a significant contribution to the defense of the U.S. by acquiring threats and providing data through the ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) system, MDA said.

MDA is requesting $450 million to integrate additional space sensors into the BMDS and to enhance C2BMC track and discrimination capabilities to provide fire control quality to BMD weapon system. MDA also requests $138 million to continue the development of a Long Range Discrimination Radar (LRDR), which is a mid-course tracking radar providing coverage against threats from the Pacific theater.