Report | Sept. 8, 2014

Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle Quality Assurance and Reliability Assessment-Part A



Our objective was to perform a quality assurance assessment of the Missile Defense Agency’s Ground-Based Midcourse Defense, Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, which is procured from Raytheon Missile Systems via the prime contractor Boeing. Our assessment resulted in two separate reports.

Part A: Assess Raytheon conformity to Aerospace Standard (AS)9100C, “Quality Management Systems - Requirements for Aviation, Space and Defense Organizations,” contractual quality assurance clauses, and internal quality assurance processes and procedures.

Part B: Assess the Exoatmpheric Kill Vehicle reliability of deployed assets. It will be released as a separate classified report.


The majority of quality management systems were in compliance. However, some areas need improvement:

A. Boeing and Raytheon were not ensuring that software development processes and testing were sufficient, which could result in reliability issues.

B. Boeing and Raytheon did not ensure all quality assurance and technical requirements for mission-critical assemblies flowed down to the supply chain and were verified. Therefore, it is uncertain that all supplier products will meet system, performance, and reliability requirements.

C. Boeing and Raytheon were not adhering to configuration management processes, specifically with respect to management of change processes for design requirements. This leads to some uncertainty in fielded configurations.

D. Missile Defense Agency, Boeing, and Raytheon were not ensuring that all quality management systems were in compliance with the AS9100C standard. We identified a total of 48 nonconformances that were violations of the AS9100C standard. These nonconformances could result in the production of nonconforming hardware and software which could effect mission success.


The Director, Missile Defense Agency, should:

A. Ensure software development processes are fully documented, implemented, and enforced throughout the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle supply chain.

B.1 Ensure all suppliers of critical items are identified as critical suppliers, receive the necessary contractual requirements, and requirements are verified throughout the supply chain.

B.2 Ensure fielded hardware affected by an insufficient Hardware Acceptance Review Checklist process is assessed for risk.

C. Ensure design and configuration changes do not circumvent the Missile Defense Agency Assurance Provisions for configuration management.

D. Conduct an effective root cause analysis and implement corrective actions for all 48 nonconformances including assessing the risk to fielded hardware.

Management Comments

MDA provided responsive comments on the draft of this report and agreed with the five recommendations in the report. Additionally, MDA provided technical and security comments that have been incorporated into this report as appropriate. No further comments are required.