WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will not seek repayment from industry for money tied to the now-canceled Redesigned Kill Vehicle program, Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering Mike Griffin confirmed Wednesday.
Griffin, delivering a keynote address at the 2019 Defense News Conference, said that the money spent still provides a return for the department, even though the program ended in a failure that will set U.S. missile defense efforts back “a few years.”
“We terminated for convenience, not default. There are no paybacks due, and we learned quite a lot that we’ll carry forward into the next-generation interceptor,” Griffin said. “The money, which was spent, did not go toward hardware which will be mothballed somewhere — it went towards the acquisition of knowledge, which will inform our future.”
The Redesigned Kill Vehicle would have replaced the current Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle on the Ground-Based Interceptor, which makes up the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system designed to protect the homeland from ballistic missile threats.
The redesigned variant would have also been fielded on all future ground-based interceptors — ultimately a total of 64.
Griffin made the decision on Aug. 14 to terminate the program due to what was termed “technical design problems.” The Pentagon plans to move forward with a new, next-generation interceptor competition.
More than $1 billion have been spent on the program, primarily to Boeing and Raytheon.
“Obviously we weren’t pleased,” Griffin said of the decision. “Not every new development works out. ... We chose to recognize that fact rather than just continue to throw money at it.”
Jen Judson in Washington contributed to this report.
Aaron Mehta was deputy editor and senior Pentagon correspondent for Defense News, covering policy, strategy and acquisition at the highest levels of the Defense Department and its international partners.