MDA Briefing on FY 2020 Budget (March 13, 2019)(Updated March 14)

The Missile Defense Agency (MDA) presented their proposed budget for FY 2019 yesterday.  Although there is not yet any information about the budget posted on their website, a video of the briefing was posted today. I have put the slides shown at the briefing into a Word file, which is here: MDA-Budget_Briefing-Slides-03122019

(The first slide was not shown on the video, but it is probably just a title slide as there was no discussion of it.)

I expect that a transcript of the briefing will be available soon.  If so, I will add a link to it.

[Added March 14: The transcript is here.]

The two most interesting (to me) things I learned in the briefing:

(1) The RKV is delayed.  The development and deployment of Redesigned Kill Vehicle, intended to be more reliable than the current kill vehicles deployed on the Ground-Based Interceptors (GBIs) of the current U.S. national missile defense system, has been delayed by two years, from 2023 to 2025.  Since the RKVs were to be deployed on the 20 additional GBIs (bringing the total to 64) that were scheduled to begin deployment in Alaska in 2023, the beginning of the deployment of these additional GBIs has also delayed by two years from 2023 to 2025.

(2) The Neutral Particle Beam is back.  Much discussed during the “Star Wars” days, the state of technology at the time ultimately was shown to be far from allowing an actual neutral particle beam weapon to be built. However, in FY 2020 MDA plans to initiate a new program to develop a neutral particle beam that will “offer new kill options.”  MDA claims that this program could lead to an on-orbit demonstration as early as 2023.

Leave a comment


  1. Wow the neutral particle beam for on-orbit demonstration in 2023 is huge news! That thing could be really useful to get rid of decoys. It’s also a serious escalation, and could explain why Putin showed off his nuclear wunderwaffen.

  2. Brumby

     /  March 22, 2019

    In the recent 2020 budget, the USN outlined a plan to upgrade the SPY-1D on the Flight IIA with a scaled version of the SPY-6. The scaled version is expected to comprise of 24 RMA vs 37 in the SPY-6. Given the fleet size of the Flight IIA, this upgrade would be a significant upgrade in capability to the fleet. I would like to request if you can in a future article comment on what a 24 RMA capability improvement would be against the SPY-1D and SPY-6. Thanking you in advance. I have been visiting your site for many years and enjoy greatly your articles.


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