The Department of Defense announced today the selection of booster rocket motors for the National Missile Defense (NMD) Ground-based Interceptor (GBI). Jacques Gansler, under secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology and the Defense Acquisition Executive, selected a booster configuration that incorporates commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) stages. The other booster considered included stages of the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
The COTS booster will be assembled by the Boeing Corp., the lead system integrator contractor for the NMD program. Alliant Tech Systems, Magna, Utah, and United Technologies Chemical Systems Division, San Jose, Calif., are the subcontractors for the booster stages and motors. The complete booster stack is estimated to cost $3 million each. The basic contract will acquire five booster stacks for test flights, plus additional static and ground test assets.
The GBI will be composed of the multi-stage booster and an exoatmospheric kill vehicle (EKV). The booster will propel the EKV toward the approximate location of the attacking ballistic missile so that the EKV can intercept the target and destroy it by force of impact, called "hit to kill."
Selection of the COTS booster option does not constitute a decision by the Department of Defense to deploy a National Missile Defense system and does not indicate a preference for any particular NMD architecture or launch site. The booster configuration selected can be utilized in all ground-based NMD architectures under consideration. The cost estimates generally favored COTS over the Minuteman, as the Minuteman boosters would have required significant refurbishing. The system currently under development will consist of a limited number of GBI missiles; ground-based radars; space-based sensors; and a battle management, command, control and communication system.
News media queries should be directed to Lt. Col. Rick Lehner, BMDO External Affairs, at (703) 604-3186 or (703) 695-8743, or the World Wide Web at www.acq.osd.mil/bmdo/bmdolink/html.