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Lockheed Martin’s Next Generation Interceptor hits vital testing milestone

Lockheed Martin recently announced that it had validated prototype communications radio technology for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) during a recent test milestone.

According to the aerospace and defense powerhouse, the NGI will serve to carry out the Missile Defense Agency’s (MDA) mission of defending the homeland from increased threats posed by intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

In a release, Lockheed Martin, which houses its NGI program-related operations in Huntsville, advised that the NGI and its components must be able to receive and share data from the ground and throughout the mission across vast distance. The company noted that it is crucial for the interceptor to hold the capability of traveling at tremendous speed through inhospitable environments.

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Through early prototype testing at Lockheed Martin’s facility in Sunnyvale, California, the company demonstrated that the interceptor’s communications system can operate through harsh and adversarial environments it may encounter during flight, according to the company.

The defense juggernaut said that the communication technology is important due to its ability to provide in-flight situational awareness that enables elements of the interceptor to effectively respond to dynamic threats.

Sarah Reeves, vice president and program manager of Lockheed Martin’s NGI program, said that the testing enables the company to learn where the NGI’s development stands as it moves forward with the program’s advancements.

“Early demonstrations like this allow us to learn as we go and manage risk,” said Reeves. “This milestone continues the NGI team’s successful early and often testing cadence of critical technologies within our digital system design as it matures in alignment with our Developmental Evaluation Framework.”

According to Lockheed Martin, the NGI team is carrying out operations with a sense of urgency. The company stated that it was focused on continually maturing, testing and demonstrating the NGI system’s components to validate system performance.

“The NGI team incorporated rapid prototyping, in connection with Austin, Texas, small business X-Microwave, a Quantic Company, delivering hardware platforms for software-defined radio development in weeks, rather than months, allowing for faster design evolution,” the release stated.

The first Lockheed Martin NGI is forecast for delivery in fiscal year 2027, the company said in its announcement.

Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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