The global defence prime has hit a new milestone in its work to bolster the United States’ missile defence capability.
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According to Lockheed Martin, its prototype communications radio technology for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) program was recently validated during a test at its facility in Sunnyvale, California.
The NGI capability, which aims to strengthen the US homeland’s defence against intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) threats, must be capable of receiving and sharing data from the ground and throughout the mission across vast distances and at high speeds.
This test reportedly demonstrated this capability, ensuring it can provide in-flight situational awareness enabling the interceptor to “effectively respond to complex threats”.
“Early demonstrations like this allow us to learn as we go and manage risk,” Sarah Reeves, vice president and program manager of the Next Generation Interceptor program at Lockheed Martin, said.
“This milestone continues the NGI team’s successful early and often testing cadence of critical technologies within our digital system design as it matures in alignment with our developmental evaluation framework.”
Lockheed Martin’s NGI program has been supported by a number of smaller US firms, including X-Microwave, which expedited the delivery of hardware platforms for software-defined radio development.
The first Lockheed Martin NGI is scheduled for delivery in the 2027 financial year.
Lockheed Martin’s program milestone comes just a week after the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) awarded a contract worth up to US$3.2 billion (AU$4.5 billion) to Northrop Grumman for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) Weapon System (GWS) program.
The GWS program also aims to develop capability designed to strengthen the United States’ defences against ICBM attacks.
Northrop Grumman’s role will be to provide design, development, verification, deployment and sustainment support of new capabilities under the GWS program.
GWS is expected to leverage a DevSecOps approach, drawing from proven digital transformation processes to update and modernise legacy code, warfighter capabilities, and incorporate the next generation interceptor fleet into the overall GMD system.
[Related: Northrop Grumman lands missile defence contract ]