The US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) has awarded two contracts to Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman Systems for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) programme.

NGI advanced interceptor is designed to protect the country against intercontinental ballistic missile attack.

The contract for NGI is a crucial step in the modernisation of the current ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) system. It will also ensure NGI is part of an integrated Missile Defense System (MDS) solution.

The cost-plus-award-fee, cost-plus-fixed-fee, and cost-plus-incentive-fee contract is valued at $3.7bn through the full base period.

The initial programme funding limitation for both contracts combined is $1.6bn until the fiscal year 2022.

The two companies were selected in a competitive downselect phase and will perform technology development and risk reduction of the NGI All-Up-Round under the contract.

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Lockheed Martin has partnered with Aerojet Rocketdyne and Northrop Grumman teamed with Raytheon Missiles and Defense for the programme.

MDA director vice admiral Jon Hill said: “NGI is the result of the first holistic technical assessment of homeland defences the department has conducted since initial system operations began in 2004.

“By planning to carry two vendors through technology development, MDA will maximise the benefits of competition to deliver the most effective and reliable homeland defence missile to the warfighter as soon as possible.

“Once fielded, this new homeland defence interceptor will be capable of defeating expected threat advances into the 2030s and beyond.”

The missile system will launch from the current GBI silo infrastructure in Fort Greely, Alaska, and Vandenberg airforce base in California.

Last month, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) and the MDA started developing the Arrow-4 weapon system.