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Boeing Expands Test Capability For GMD Missile Defense System

Boeing's GMD team installs the silo at the base. This new silo can be configured to support testing or tactical operations. Photo Credit: Boeing photo
by Staff Writers
Vandenberg AFB CA (SPX) Aug 19, 2009
Boeing, working with industry teammates and the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA), has completed construction of a second interceptor test silo for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The new underground silo provides additional test capability for the United States' only defense against long-range ballistic missile threats.

"Having this second test silo to launch interceptors will allow us to test upgrades to the GMD system more quickly, improving the MDA's ability to stay ahead of evolving threats," said Norm Tew, Boeing vice president and GMD program director. "We are proud to deliver this additional capability for America's defense."

Because a silo needs to be refurbished after its hot-burning interceptor is fired, having two test silos will allow one to support testing while the other is being refurbished. The new silo also has the unique ability to be configured for testing or tactical operations, providing even greater flexibility.

Vandenberg's first test silo has been used in tests since 2006 and will continue to support future flight test operations.

The Huntsville, Ala.-based GMD program has deployed more than 20 operational interceptors at Vandenberg and at Fort Greely, Alaska, to defend the United States against long-range ballistic missile threats.

An integral element of the global ballistic missile defense system, GMD also consists of radars, other sensors, command-and-control facilities, communications terminals and a 20,000-mile fiber optic communications network.

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