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US Next Generation Interceptor designs pass major review milestone

NGI graphic illustration
The Northrop Grumman and Raytheon team complete a major milestone as the work to ensure the Missile Defense Agency’s Next Generation Interceptor is ready to protect the homeland from incoming threats. Photo: Northrop Grumman

One of the two teams working on the development of the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) for the US homeland intercontinental ballistic missile defense system announced it had completed the System Requirements Review (SRR) ahead of schedule.

Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies announced on December 20 they completed the milestone, and are now proceeding with initial system design, further risk reduction testing, and critical component qualification activities.

Lockheed Martin revealed in October this year that the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) approved its SRR.

Northrop Grumman said the achievement followed a demonstration of the team’s NGI Common Software Factory, which enables rapid development, integration and delivery in a DevSecOps environment.

“We’re leveraging our two decades of performance on the current Ground-Based Interceptor (GBI),” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, launch and missile defense systems, Northrop Grumman. “With our combined workforce, extensive expertise and state-of-the-art facilities, we will deliver a highly capable new interceptor that will protect our nation against long-range missile threats for decades to come.”

The Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies team is leveraging high-fidelity model-based systems engineering, and hardware manufacturing in customer-certified facilities. The team is also conducting internally-funded risk reduction hardware development and testing to ensure deployment of NGI in the rapid timeline the nation requires.

“Raytheon is the nation’s provider of kill vehicle payloads that maneuver in space to destroy missile threats, with 47 successful exo-atmospheric intercepts achieved to date,” said Tay Fitzgerald, vice president of Strategic Missile Defense, Raytheon Missiles & Defense. “Our digital system design approach gives us high confidence in our solution going into the preliminary design review.”

As the ground-based midcourse missile defense system, NGI is an advanced interceptor designed to protect the nation against intercontinental ballistic missile attack. NGI’s mission will be to protect the homeland against missile threats from rogue nations with a modern weapon system as an evolution of the currently deployed Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system.

Pentagon said it would uphold “fly before you buy” principles to ensure the overall system and components have been rigorously flight-tested prior to making any procurement decisions.

The contracts awarded to the two teams have an estimated maximum value of $1.6 billion through fiscal year 2022, and are structured to carry two designs into the technology development and risk reduction phase.