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Defense Department Award of Missile Contract to Boeing Keeps Jobs in Huntsville

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

In a press release on Friday, Boeing and Northrop Grumman Corporation announced that they have been awarded a $3.48 billion contract to build the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) element of the United States ballistic missile defense system.

“Today’s award is the culmination of a two-year proposal process that brought together a broad industry group committed to delivering innovative solutions and a cost-effective approach to program management and execution,” said Dennis Muilenburg, president and CEO of Boeing Defense, Space and Security. “We are privileged to have been partners with the Missile Defense Agency through development and deployment of the GMD system, and now with Northrop Grumman, we are honored to continue that partnership in this next phase of the program.”

“The DSC ushers in a new era for the GMD program, and our partnership with Boeing brings together the very best minds in the industry for this national security capability,” said Wes Bush, chairman, CEO and president, Northrop Grumman. “By combining Northrop Grumman’s 50-year experience and success on the nation’s Minuteman ICBM program with Boeing’s heritage GMD leadership, we provide the optimum mix of integrated development and sustainment capabilities for a system that demands nothing less.”

“In selecting the Boeing and Northrop Grumman GMD team, the Missile Defense Agency retains the knowledge, skill and expertise of the world-class men and women who developed this one-of-a-kind system—the only industry team capable of affordable innovation for GMD’s future,” said Norm Tew, Boeing vice president and program director of GMD. “We believe the government conducted a fair and open competition, making the right decision for the future of the program.”

Boeing is the largest aerospace company in Alabama and one of the state’s largest employers. Current company operations in Huntsville include the Ground-based Midcourse Defense program and other missile defense work, including the Standard Missile-3 Block IIB program, the Arrow system and the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 seeker, as well as support of Space Exploration Launch Systems, the International Space Station, Army Integrated Logistics, and engineering support for commercial and commercial-derivative airplanes.’  Boeing employs 2,700 workers in Alabama.

The Global Ballistic Missile Defense System, GMD uses radars, other sensors, command-and-control facilities, communications terminals and a 20,000-mile fiber optic communications network. There are more than 20 operational interceptors at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., and Fort Greely, Alaska, to defend the United States against long-range ballistic missile threats.

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Essentially, if ballistic missiles are fired at the United States or our allies, the Department of Defense can respond to the incoming threat by launching interceptor missiles that will collide with the attacking missiles.  Boeing defeated a competing bid from Lockheed Martin for this contract.
You can read the Boeing press release in its entirety at: http://boeing.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=2089

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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