DOD IG Probing Production Concerns with Raytheon Missile Interceptor

The Defense Department's inspector general is carrying out a quality control investigation of Raytheon's manufacturing processes for a critical component of a long-range missile interceptor that has had a rough testing track record in recent years, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

The Massachusetts-based weapons developer produces the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle used on the Ground Based Interceptors that make up the U.S. Ground-based Midcourse Defense system -- the country's primary defense against a possible strategic missile attack by North Korea or Iran. A $200 million intercept test in December 2010 of the GMD system was unsuccessful due to a missing component from the EKV unit called a lockwire.

The Pentagon's investigation of Raytheon's manufacturing processes for the hit-to-kill warhead will be carried out at the Missile Defense Agency program office in Huntsville, Ala., and at the weapon firm's production facility in Tuscon, Ariz., according to a September letter by the Pentagon's deputy inspector general for policy and oversight, Randolph Stone.

The Missile Defense Agency and Raytheon would not provide Bloomberg with a comment on the IG quality control review.

The Defense Department in 2011 directed Raytheon to cease delivery of shipments of the EKV unit. Then-MDA head, now-retired Army Lt. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, told a congressional panel in March 2012 he and his technical advisers were unhappy with quality problems they had found in the manufacturing of EKV parts. A high-profile GMD intercept attempt this July was unsuccessful due to a failure of the EKV warhead to separate from the GBI missile's third-stage.

O'Reilly in 2009 testified to Congress EKV unit deliveries were delayed for up to 50 days in 2008 due to mediocre administration and a "lack of discipline during assembly and testing."

October 18, 2013
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The Defense Department's inspector general is carrying out a quality control investigation of Raytheon's manufacturing processes for a critical component of a long-range missile interceptor that has had a rough testing track record in recent years, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

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