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Pentagon budget 2023: MDA seeks USD2.596 billion for strategic missile defence programme

Improving the GMD system has been a top priority for MDA. However, the effort suffered a major setback after a new kill vehicle programme was terminated. (MDA)

The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is requesting about USD2.596 billion to improve its strategic missile defence system, including funding to develop a Next-Generation Interceptor (NGI)

MDA last year requested USD1.733 billion for strategic missile defence. This included USD926.1 million to develop the new interceptor, and USD745.1 million improve its Ground-based Mid-course Defense (GMD) with upgraded ground infrastructure and improved reliability of fire-control and kill vehicle software, added software for a selectable two- or three-stage rocket booster, and five new boosters.

MDA, with contractors Boeing and Raytheon, on 12 September conducted a test launch of a GMD Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI), flying a mock-up of the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), with a three-stage booster operating in a two-stage mode.

The test – in which the third stage was not ignited – demonstrated a new capability for the GBI, enabling it to release the kill vehicle earlier in flight. The MDA designates this new capability as “a 2-/3-Stage selectable GBI”. Another such test was requested to be funded in FY 2023.

Meanwhile, for NGI, funding in FY 2023 is meant for “the initial requirements analysis, design, development, prototyping, integration and relevant environment testing to mature the booster, payload, sensor, and design-specific critical technologies and technology elements”, according to Pentagon budget documents released on 28 March.

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