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Ground Based Interceptor (GBI)
  • Uses an array of sensors, radars, and ground-based interceptors that are capable of shooting down long-range ballistic missiles during the midcourse phase of flight.
  • Directly hits the incoming missile by ramming the warhead with a closing speed of approximately 15,000 miles per hour to destroy it. This is called “hit-to-killâ€? technology and has been proven to work in a number of flight tests.


Ground-Based Midcourse Defense is composed of three main components: sensors, ground-based interceptors, and fire control and communications.

  • Sensors: Ground-Based Midcourse Defense uses a variety of sensors and radars to obtain information on missile launches and to track, discriminate, and target an incoming warhead. This information is provided to the Ground-Based Interceptor before launch and during flight to help it find the incoming ballistic missile and close with it.
  • Ground-Based Interceptor: A Ground-Based Interceptor is made up of a three-stage, solid fuel booster and an exoatmospheric kill vehicle. When launched, the booster missile carries the kill vehicle toward the target’s predicted location in space. Once released from the booster, the 152 pound kill vehicle uses data received in-flight from ground-based radars and its own on-board sensors to close with and destroy the target using only the force of the impact.
  • Fire Control and Communications: This is the central nervous system of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense element. It connects all of the hardware, software and communications systems necessary for planning, tasking and controlling Ground-Based Midcourse Defense.


  • Interceptor missiles are emplaced at Fort Greely, Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. More are planned to be emplaced in 2006.
  • Ground-Based Midcourse Defense fire control centers have been established in Colorado and Alaska.
  • Several existing early warning radars located around the world, including one on Shemya Island in the Alaskan Aleutian chain, have been upgraded to support flight tests and to provide tracking information in the event of a hostile missile attack.
  • Also nearing completion is a powerful, mobile Sea-based X-Band radar that is scheduled to be fully integrated into the Ballistic Missile Defense System in 2006.


Data for Orbital Booster Vehicle:
  • Length 16.8 m (55 ft)
  • Diameter 1.27 m (50 in)
  • Weight 12700 kg (28000 lb)
  • Speed ?
  • Ceiling 2000 km (1250 miles) 

  • 1st stage: Alliant Tech Orion 50SXLG solid-fueled rocket; 441 kN (99000 lb)
  • 2nd stage: Alliant Tech Orion 50XL solid-fueled rocket; 153 kN (34500 lb)
  • 3rd stage: Alliant Tech Orion 38 solid-fueled rocket; 32 kN (7200 lb) 
  • Warhead EKV "hit-to-kill" vehicle 

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