The reduction in nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War does not mean that the world has become safer. There are still vast numbers of warheads ready to be launched, and the United States remains under the threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles. However, Lockheed Martin has announced an important achievement in the development of a new Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) that is designed to counter these threats.
The NGI is part of the National Ground-Based Missile Defense (GMD) system and serves several important functions. First, it provides defense against single missiles launched by rogue states or accidentally by other powers. Second, the GMD system raises doubts among Russian and Chinese leaders about the success of a nuclear first strike.
The NGI’s technical specifications are impressive. The missile is designed as a three-stage system with high mission flexibility. It has advanced sensors capable of detecting and tracking the threat, as well as assessing the threat and planning the best plan of action. If necessary, the missile can forgo launching the third stage and deploy a kinetic warhead in advance to put it on the desired intercept trajectory.
Lockheed Martin said the NGI program has passed all preliminary design checks and has reached an appropriate level of development. This was achieved by utilizing advanced digital tools that enable faster decision making and accelerated delivery.
Delivery of the first NGI is scheduled for 2027, signaling the imminent arrival of a new era in United States missile defense.