The US Missile Defence Agency (MDA) has completed a successful flight test of the two-stage ground-based interceptor (GBI) of the ground-based midcourse defence (GMD) system.
During the test, the two-stage GBI lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, carrying an operational exo-atmospheric kill vehicle (EKV) payload.
It measures performance data for the new two-stage design and how an operationally configured EKV will operate under stressful boundary conditions.
The two-stage GBI uses existing flight-qualified components and is 95% identical to the three-stage GBIs deployed in underground silos at Vandenberg and at Fort Greely, Alaska.
The GMD system is an integral element of the MDA’s overall layered ballistic missile defence architecture.
Equipped with interceptors deployed in underground silos at Vandenberg and at Fort Greely, GMD defends the US against long-range ballistic missiles.
It also includes radars, other sensors, command and control facilities, communications terminals and a 20,000-mile fibre-optic communications network.