Northrop Grumman Corp. said Nov. 17 it will help the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) integrate and demonstrate an early-intercept capability under a $4.7 million task order awarded in September.

Northrop’s initial effort, according to a company press release, includes planning demonstration experiments that will enable it to assess technologies to intercept a missile earlier in flight using current interceptor systems, specifically the Standard Missile-3 and Ground-Based Interceptor.

Northrop spent more than five years as the prime contractor for the recently terminated Kinetic Energy Interceptors program working on intercepting a missile in the boost phase.

Under the three-month task order issued under the Joint National Integration Center Research and Development Contract, Northrop will begin designing and developing an experimental, plug-and-play command and control architecture meant to enable MDA to assess the ability of candidate sensors to support an early intercept against medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

Karen Williams, Northrop Grumman Information Systems vice president for air and missile defense systems, said in a statement that the new project leverages the company’s work on the Kinetic Energy Interceptors program as well as its expertise in command, control, battle management and communications.