Pentagon Admits Defeat, Cancels Billion-Dollar Contract for Anti-Missile Missile
After spending $1.2bn US military realized what Raytheon and Boeing were building was never going to realistically knock down a missile
The Pentagon has canceled a $1 billion-dollar contract with Boeing to create a next-generation weapon meant to destroy incoming missiles after technical problems derailed the project.
The Defense Department will officially shut down the Redesigned Kill Vehicle (RKV) program on Thursday “due to technical design problems,” according to Missile Defense Agency spokesman Mark Wright.
The Associated Press first reported on the cancelation.
Boeing in May 2017 had received a $1 billion contract for RKV program, thought up as a means to shoot down missiles from North Korea or Iran.
But DOD Under Secretary of Defense for research and engineering Michael Griffin “made the decision to terminate the program on August 14,” and the U.S. military will instead hold a competition for a “new, next-generation interceptor,” according to Wright.
“Ending the program was the responsible thing to do,” Griffin said in a statement. “Development programs sometimes encounter problems. After exercising due diligence, we decided the path we’re going down wouldn’t be fruitful, so we’re not going down that path anymore.
Griffin in May had ordered Boeing to stop work on the RKV as the Pentagon decided how it would move forward on the program, which had already spent just under $1.2 billion in developmental costs.
“The department ultimately determined the technical design problems were so significant as to be either insurmountable or cost-prohibitive to correct,” Griffin said of that work halt.
Raytheon Co., meanwhile, which makes the interceptor’s warhead, is struggling with design and manufacturing problems that increased costs, Bloomberg reported.
The RKV was meant to replace the current Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV), currently fitted on the nation’s supply of Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI) – part of the U.S. missile defense system meant to protect the country from incoming ballistic missiles. Current EKV technology dates back to the 1990s.
The armaments, which have been tested but never used in combat, are launched from an underground silo based on U.S. soil, fly above Earth’s atmosphere, and release a “kill vehicle” that knocks into the incoming threat and destroys it. The action has been described as a bullet hitting another bullet to knock it off course. [Ie impossible.]
The RKV was to go on 20 new GBIs the Pentagon planned to build and then base by 2023 in Fort Greely, Alaska where 44 interceptors are already held. Another four GBIs are in California.
The new competition, which is currently open but has no set timelines or specifications, would likely look to build a weapon to counter the hypersonic missiles now being developed by Russia and China. [In other words, they couldn’t develop an anti-missile system that would work against North Korea or Iran so they’re now going to try building one that would work against Russia and China. Good luck.]
Details on the issues that lead to the program’s termination will not be released “due to the classified nature of the program,” according to Wright.
Source: The Hill
Back in the Day US servicemen and women and citizens were photographed across the world with shovels and hammers in their hands and children laughing and playing at their feet. Job Corps? I’m sure some of that still exists.. Now it’s guns and body armor. More than anything else America is now the world’s armorer.. Every bullet, bomb and cyber-warfare tool? Will come back to haunt us.
Hell, just look at the militarization of our police! From the equipment to their SOP, they patrol as if they are in a war zone.
One day military-industrial complex has crushed Soviet Union budget and empire has collapsed. Now we see repeat but this time it’s U.S. turn.
That makes absolutely no sense! If they can’t build an anti-missile missile to thwart Iran or North Korea, what in the world are they thinking when they are now going after technology to build one that will counter Russian or Chinese missiles?!?
Admit it, Washington, your Pentagon and military contractors are beat and your poor educational system is now beginning to bear very poisonous fruit!!
I worked on the Missile Defense Program in Alaska – it was behind schedule and the rumour that the Military was outta money – No problem – a General showed up , had a big talk on the islands auditorium and assured everyone that another billion will be forth coming , in order to finish the project. Meanwhile out on the job , everyone I asked , including the computer guys — Is this thing gonna work ? Most guys said – probably not ! LOL True story – Shemya Island -2002 or so.
Dam@ed good points!
Intercepting incoming missiles is an incredibly difficult task. And the technologies involved are forever evolving. So they spent $1.2B on a program that didn’t pan out. They’ll take the lessons learned and move on. This idea of ‘shooting a bullet with a bullet’ has been under development since the ‘Star War’ days of Ronnie Raygun.
America won’t stop their pursuit and they have an almost insurmountable lead over the rest of the world in this technology.
The concept of a bullet hitting a bullet is oxymoronic, existing ABM SMR interceptors rely on this concept and are rather ineffective against maneuvering and evading MIRVS, or hypersonic glide vehicles changing their trajectory in a determined manner.