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Lockheed Martin contracts VTS for new roll control subsystem on strategic interceptors

A legacy GMD interceptor, which NGI is to supplement, is shown boosting during an intercept test. (Missile Defense Agency)

Valley Tech Systems Inc (VTS) has been awarded a subcontract to develop and integrate its controllable solid propulsion technology for a roll control subsystem on Lockheed Martin's Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) bid.

NGI is a competitive programme, between teams led by Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, to develop a new strategic missile interceptor for US homeland defence against ‘rogue' states such as North Korea.

VTS's contract, worth up to USD94 million “for base and future option scope”, is to provide “a solid-propulsion roll control subsystem to assist in stabilising the NGI's flight trajectory”, the company said in a 7 December statement. For the NGI technology development and risk reduction phase, Valley Tech Systems is to deliver Lockheed Martin “a flight-qualified, production-ready subsystem … in support of the 2027 fielding date”.

A flying vehicle, whether an aircraft or missile, typically needs attitude controls for pitch, yaw, and roll – and in this application, VTS's controllable solid propulsion technology is to control NGI's roll, Russ Carlson, Valley Tech Systems vice-president of aerospace, told Janes on 8 December.

He declined to detail how it works or where it is integrated on the interceptor, but said the technology is designed “to throttle solid propellant over a long period of time”.

During the past decade, VTS – now a Voyager Space company – has developed new thruster technology, new control system technology, and leveraged “safe and storable” propellants, Carlson said.

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