Department of Defense's Ground-based Midcourse Defense Program.

Inspecting the silo liner rigging.
Although the Cold War has long since ended, the threat of attack on the United States by long-range ballistic missiles remains real. In addition to the recognized nuclear powers of the world, numerous other countries have ballistic missiles, some of which are working on weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, chemical or biological. If any of these weapons ever were launched, thousands, or even millions, of lives could be lost. Yet despite this growing threat, many Americans erroneously believe our nation has a super-secret device to shield our country from ballistic missiles.

The purpose of the Department of Defense's Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program is to develop and potentially deploy an efficient, effective system that detects, tracks and destroys incoming missiles before they enter our atmosphere. The program is in its development phase. After the first three years of development, integration and testing, if the missile threat warrants it, the GMD system could be deployed and operational within five more years. If the missile threat does not warrant deployment, the development of an improved, more capable system would continue. If a decision is made to deploy during the continuing development, a GMD system can be deployed within five years.

Auger at work.
The Boeing Company, as the GMD prime contractor, is developing the GMD elements: ground-based interceptor; x-band radars; battle management, command, control and communications; upgraded early warning radars; and interfaces to space-based infrared system satellites. Boeing has assembled a team of experienced companies to develop an effective and cost-efficient integrated GMD system for our nation.

The GMD system consists of integrated ground-based interceptors, kill vehicles, a variety of sensors and an expansive battle management command and control network, which is capable of protecting the homeland from attack.

A crane lifts a missile silo in place.
Since first breaking ground at Fort Greely, Alaska, on June 15, 2002, the Boeing team has worked around the clock constructing the site, despite challenging conditions including temperatures averaging minus 40 degrees F and winds gusting up to 90 mph. Construction involved clearing 550 acres, pouring 5,400 cubic yards of concrete, constructing more than 80,000 square feet of building space and installing six interceptor silos for the initial GMD capability. In addition, 13,000 miles of fiber optic cable are dedicated to the GMD system.

“The progress made on the GMD program at the Fort Greely site over the past three years has been outstanding,” says Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems. “GMD is one of the first real system-of-systems programs and ranks among the most complex programs the country has ever undertaken. Addressing this national need has taken the best of industry and the best of Boeing.”