The US Air Force has selected Northrop Grumman Corporation to modernize the country’s aging intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system under a $13.3 billion contract awarded on September 8.
The contract is for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program.
The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center announced that the effort will span 8.5 years and include weapon system design, qualification, test and evaluation and nuclear certification.
Upon completion of EMD, the Northrop Grumman team will begin producing and delivering a modern and fully integrated weapon system to meet the Air Force schedule of initial operational capability by 2029. The air force has already unveiled three locations that will host GBSD
The GBSD ICBM is the follow-on to the aging LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM that first became operational in 1970. The GBSD ICBM will have increased accuracy, enhanced security and improved reliability to provide the US with an upgraded and broader array of strategic nuclear options to address the threats of today and the future.
“Modernizing the nuclear strategic triad is a top priority of our military,” said Defense Secretary Dr. Mark Esper. “It’s key to our nation’s defense. It provides that strategic nuclear deterrent that we depend on day after day – that we’ve depended on decade after decade.”
The EMD award follows a three-year technology maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) phase-one effort under the GBSD competition. Work on the program will be performed at the Northrop Grumman GBSD facilities in Roy and Promontory, Utah, as well as other key Northrop Grumman sites across the US.
The Northrop Grumman GBSD team includes Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bechtel, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, HDT Global, Honeywell, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Textron Systems, as well as hundreds of small and medium-sized companies from across the defense, engineering and construction industries.