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Boeing gets USD6.56 billion contract to expand missile defences against North Korea

01 February 2018

Boeing has been awarded a USD6.56 billion six-year contract extension to continue managing and developing the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, which is designed to defend against a limited long-range ballistic missile attack from North Korea.Improving the GMD system has been the Pentagon's top missile defence priority. It now has its full complement of 44 interceptors and may soon get 20 more. (MDA)Improving the GMD system has been the Pentagon's top missile defence priority. It now has its full complement of 44 interceptors and may soon get 20 more. (MDA)

North Korea in July 2017 twice successfully tested its Hwasong-14 (KN-20) intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Boeing has been the lead contractor for GMD since its inception in the late 1990s. This extension, announced on 31 January, brings the company’s contract for the programme to USD12.6 billion and takes it through December 2023.

The contract’s scope includes “development, fielding, test, systems engineering, integration and configuration management, equipment manufacturing and refurbishment, training, and operations and sustainment for the GMD weapon system and associated support facilities”, the Pentagon said.

It also includes adding 20 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) to the 44 that are currently deployed: 40 at Fort Greely in Alaska and 4 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The contract covers “digging a new missile field with 20 additional silos and two additional silos in a previously constructed missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska” as well as buying the 20 GBIs.

It also includes development work on the Orbital ATK boost vehicle development and integration of a new redesigned kill vehicle (RKV) that is to boost reliability.

The Pentagon and the rest of the federal government are operating under a restrictive Continuing Resolution (CR) budget, but in December 2017 Congress passed a third stop-gap CR that added a significant appropriation for missile defence activities.

Among other things, lawmakers allocated USD200 million "to carry out construction of a missile field in Alaska” for the GBIs.

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