GMD Fire Control and Communication

Systems: ,

GMD Fire ControlGMD Fire Control and Communication (GFC) is the software that is used to manage the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system. The system receives data from various sensors across the globe via the Defense Satellite Communication System, and compiles this information to create picture of the battlespace. It updates the warfighter on the status of the GBI fleet, which facilitates engagement planning and launch decisions. After a GBI launch, the GFC also relays real time in-flight targeting data via one of the six operational In-Flight Data Terminals to the exo-atmospheric kill vehicle. GMD Fire Control is also configured to receive information via C2BMC, which allows sensors such as Aegis SPY-1, TPY-2 to contribute to the homeland defense mission.1

The central problem encountered by GMD Fire Control is mitigating obsolescence for ground systems, which are largely based on 1990’s era technology and hardware that was mostly installed in the early 2000’s.2 Two significant upgrades to the system are scheduled before 2019. The first is GFC 6B3, which will provide software capable of handling the entire planned fleet of 44 GBIs and also incorporates new discrimination algorithms to add capability.3 GFC 7A intends to improve the ability of the system to switch between redundant systems and replace the aging Command Launch Equipment, modernizing and streamlining the GFC architecture. The 7B system will include the capability for two and three-stage selectable boosters, additional discrimination upgrades, new nuclear weapons effects planning software, and upgraded communications for the Redesigned Kill Vehicle. 4

    1. “Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) Program Overview,” Missile Defense Agency, May 24, 2016, 13,
    2. Ibid.
    3. James D. Syring, “The FY2017 Missile Defense Agency Budget Request” (statement at hearing of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Defense, 114th Cong., 2nd sess., April 13, 2016), 15,
    4. Ibid, 15.