MDA competition for GMD futures fails to draw more than single bid, $3.2 billion for Northrop

By Jason Sherman / July 30, 2022

The Missile Defense Agency, after nearly four years of market research and analysis on how best to inject competition into the nearly billion-dollar-a-year effort to sustain, maintain and improve the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, managed to draw only a single proposal for a major new GMD Futures contract -- handing Northrop Grumman a $3.2 billion prize.

On July 29, MDA announced Northrop Grumman had been awarded an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract with a potential value of $3.2 billion to design, develop, test, and field the next GMD Weapon System (GWS) Program.

“The GWS contract covers the systems engineering, design, development, integration, testing, and fielding of GWS software and hardware meeting warfighter needs, new requirements (e.g. Next Generation Interceptor (NGI)) and evolving threats with greater reliability, availability, maintainability and testability than the current system,” states the contract announcement.

Since 2011, Boeing has owned the GMD sustainment contract, leading an industry team that is slated to provide end-to-end development and sustainment of the system through the end of 2022 -- a contract with an estimated $11 billion total.

As the GMD prime on the legacy contract, Boeing -- along with Northrop Grumman – has overseen development, integration, testing, operation and sustainment as well as ground system elements and supports operation and sustainment and system engineering testing. Boeing also integrated a Raytheon-built exoatmospheric kill vehicle on a booster stack built by Northrop Grumman.

Eyeing North Korean advances with its ballistic missile program in 2017, MDA in 2018 decided to leave Boeing's current GMD development and sustainment contract in place to address accelerated missile defense requirements.

In 2019, MDA began thinking anew about how best to structure future contracts to manage the GMD system, contemplating whether to bundle end-to-end development and sustainment of the interceptor fleet into a single deal or break it up into a package of smaller competitive contracts.

In April, MDA landed on a new contract structure, breaking up the GMD development and sustainment contract into five smaller projects -- three would be sole-source contract awards and two would be competitively bid: the GWS and the Systems Integration, Test and Readiness (SITR).

“This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Government-wide Point of Entry website with one proposal received,” states the contract award to Northop Grumman.

A source said MDA could announce the SITR contract as soon as Monday.