Setting The Stage

By John Liang / August 5, 2010 at 3:16 PM

The stage appears to be set for who will compete for the right to continue developing the Pentagon's Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, with Lockheed Martin and Raytheon announcing this morning that the two companies had entered into a partnership to compete for the multibillion-dollar contract.

In May, the Missile Defense Agency released an amended and updated draft request for proposals for the contract that would re-open competition for its GMD "development and sustainment" effort. As Inside Missile Defense reported:

"The [Statement of Work] and Task Orders have changed considerably in format and work scope since release of the original" draft RFP in January, the agency states in a May 14 letter attached to the amended request.

According to the original Nov. 25, 2009, FedBizOpps notice, the contract, with a potential annual value of $600 million, would involve "future development; fielding; test; systems engineering, integration and configuration management; equipment manufacturing and refurbishment; training; and operations and sustainment support" for the GMD system and associated support facilities.

"The potential scope described in the previous announcement has been revised to include significant requirements beyond GMD operations and logistics support," the agency notice stated, adding that the contract number had been changed to reflect the new competition.

Boeing had been operating under the second of a series of six-month "bridge" contracts as the main contractor for the GMD program, with MDA never having signed the company to a final deal to complete the system's core elements.

In December 2008, the contract Boeing had been working under since 2001 became "too complex to administer effectively" and associated cost overruns had changed the program's technical content and schedule, MDA said in a statement issued earlier that year. The agency decided to end that contract on Dec. 31, 2008, and have Boeing signed to a new, so-called "core-completion contract," which took place in March.

MDA spokesman Richard Lehner told in a March e-mail that "the GMD Core Contract follow-on modification was signed on March 10, 2010, with an effective date the same. It was not a new contract and therefore it was not formally announced" as a new Defense Department contract award or on Federal Business Opportunities, he added.

In January, MDA decided to open its GMD effort up to other potential offerors, resulting in the draft RFP release.

According to a joint Lockheed-Raytheon statement released this morning:

Together, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon develop, produce and sustain leading interceptor weapon systems for missile defense.  As strategic partners for GMD Development and Sustainment, the companies will apply their proven experience to ensure the reliability and readiness of the GMD element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System, which defends our nation, deployed military forces, and friends and allies against a limited attack by intermediate- and long-range ballistic missiles.

"Lockheed Martin and Raytheon are continuing a successful track record of delivering on key missile defense programs," said Mathew J. Joyce, GMD vice president and program manager, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. "Lockheed Martin and Raytheon systems combined have achieved more than 50 intercepts in combat and testing – more than any other team." These systems include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense including Standard Missile-3, Patriot and Patriot Advanced Capability-3, and GMD Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle.

"In addition to our highly successful Standard Missile-3 interceptor and our proven GMD Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle expertise, Raytheon brings important capabilities in manufacturing, mission assurance and readiness that will help to ensure a smooth transition in responding to the government's needs for this critical national system," said Frank Wyatt, Raytheon vice president of Air and Missile Defense Systems.

As a strategic partner to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon's role will span systems engineering, development, manufacturing, testing, training and operations and sustainment at all of the key GMD sites.  For this next phase in the GMD lifecycle, the Lockheed Martin-Raytheon team has the most experience, is the best qualified, and provides the greatest value to ensure our warfighters have a ready and capable interceptor weapon system.

In June, Boeing and Northrop Grumman announced their intention to partner up to compete for the contract:

"Boeing takes great pride in supporting the Missile Defense Agency on GMD, providing round-the-clock protection of the United States against attack by ballistic missiles, and we are pleased to join with Northrop Grumman in this competition for future development and support of this critical element of America's defense," said Greg Hyslop, vice president and general manager, Boeing Strategic Missile & Defense Systems. "This partnership offers MDA the most experienced and responsive team, ready to adapt GMD to future needs and requirements. At the same time, this proven team will continue to offer the warfighter an unmatched level of mission readiness, availability and support -- affordably and with the lowest risk."

. . . Boeing will build on its experience of supporting the MDA as prime contractor for the development, deployment, integration and testing of the GMD weapon system since 2001. The Boeing-led team currently operates and sustains the deployed weapon system while developing and testing innovative technologies to provide greater reliability and meet its customer's evolving needs and requirements.

Northrop Grumman is responsible for designing and deploying the command-and-control systems that form the backbone of the GMD ground system, known as GMD Fire Control/Communications (GFCC) products. GFCC products connect and orchestrate GMD components that launch and guide interceptors in flight. Northrop Grumman has developed and sustained ground-based missile systems for more than 50 years and has been prime contractor for the U.S. Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) weapon system since 1997. Northrop Grumman has been part of the Boeing GMD team for more than 10 years.