The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded a contract to Northrop Grumman to support the ground-based midcourse defence (GMD) weapon system (GWS) programme.

The indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract has a ceiling value of $3.28bn.

As part of this competitively won contract, the company will provide design, development, verification, deployment and sustainment support for the GMD weapon system’s new capabilities.

The Northrop Grumman-led GWS programme team, including its large and small industry partners, will primarily be located in Huntsville, US.

Northrop Grumman launch and missile defence systems vice-president and general manager Scott Lehr said: “As the GWS prime contractor, we will continue to work closely with MDA to optimise and develop modern missile defence systems to defend against evolving threats and provide advanced capabilities for the warfighter.

“GWS is part of Northrop Grumman’s land and sea-based missile defence systems that are enabled by our advanced missile warning and tracking space satellites.

“Together, we are delivering end-to-end capabilities that will protect the US and its allies.”

The GWS programme aims to defend the US against intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missile attacks.

According to Northrop Grumman, the latest contract builds upon the company’s experience in mission-proven missile defence innovation and end-to-end capabilities.

The weapon system will further transform the existing ground system component of the GMD system, using a development, security, and operations approach.

It will also leverage proven digital transformation processes to update and modernise traditional code and warfighter capabilities to incorporate the next-generation interceptor fleet into the entire GMD system.

In March 2019, the MDA and a Boeing-led industry team tested the GMD system from the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, US.