Lockheed Martin’s anti-ICBM missile passes major development milestone

America’s Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) for countering rogue state ICBM attacks has passed a major milestone. Lockheed Martin has announced that the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has passed all design elements of the company’s NGI missile project.

Despite the dramatic reduction of the world’s nuclear arsenals and launch platforms after the end of the Cold War, there are still an worryingly large number of warheads still poised for launch across the world. With hundreds of missiles aimed at the United States at any moment, the new 21 planned NGIs as part of the nation’s Ground Missile Defense (GMD) system seems comically small compared to the threat.

However, there is a rationale to such a system. The first and most publicly obvious is that it provides the United States with protection against a single missile launched by a rogue state or by accident by some other power. The second is that the GMD system and its global array of early warning sensors introduce a large degree of doubt in the minds of Russian or Chinese leaders as to whether a nuclear first strike could succeed.

To meet these goals, the NGI is designed as a three-stage missile with a high level of mission flexibility. The warning system is not only able to detect and track a threat, but can also assess it and plan the best course of action. To achieve this, the missile can opt out of firing its third stage on command and deploy its kinetic kill warhead early to put it on the desired intercept trajectory, while improved sensors increase the chances of a successful strike.

According to Lockheed, its NGI program passed all Preliminary Design Reviews of its major subsystems on schedule and demonstrated that the technology has reached the proper level of maturity. Part of this can be attributed to the digital tool train, which allows for faster decision-making, better security, and faster deliveries.

The first NGI is scheduled for delivery in 2027.

“Lockheed Martin is making rapid progress with our NGI solution, remaining on an accelerated schedule toward flight testing,” said Sarah Reeves, vice president of NGI at Lockheed Martin. “During these reviews, we took a modern and transparent approach through the use of advanced digital engineering and model-based engineering tools. Our NGI team will continue on-plan to demonstrate our revolutionary NGI architecture, leveraging mature technologies for high mission confidence.”

Source: Lockheed Martin

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