Navy Vice Adm. James Syring. Credit: Space Missile Defense Symposium
Navy Vice Adm. James Syring. Credit: Space Missile Defense Symposium

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Missile Defense Agency is beginning its search for components for a redesigned kill vehicle, the part of a missile interceptor that destroys warheads by force of impact, according to a request for information posted to the Federal Business Opportunities website Oct. 3.

“This research will identify mature technologies and qualified parties capable of developing and producing sub-assemblies and/or components for the re-designed kill vehicle,” the request said.

The MDA’s director, Navy Vice Adm. James Syring, has said a redesigned kill vehicle is one of his top three priorities.

The agency’s interest in a redesigned kill vehicle has grown in the wake of a string of intercept test failures involving the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system in recent years. Two failures were attributed, in whole or in part, to problems with the current kill vehicle hardware, which Syring has said was rushed through development.

The agency is hoping industry, universities and nonprofits, and government laboratories can provide details on a series of components including: batteries, radio transmission and receiver units, antennas, advanced sensors, and cables and connectors.

In September, the MDA asked Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Raytheon to refine kill vehicle concepts they were developing in 2011 for the since-canceled Standard Missile-3 Block 2B interceptor program.

Responses to the Oct. 3 solicitation are due Nov. 3.

Mike Gruss covers military space issues, including the U.S. Air Force and Missile Defense Agency, for SpaceNews. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.