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US Air Force reveals name of its next-generation ICBM

LGM-35A Sentinel ICBM
US Air Force illustration of the LGM-35A Sentinel in flight

The US Air Force’s next-generation nuclear-capable missile, which has been referred to as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent until now, will be known as the LGM-35A Sentinel, the service has announced.

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall approved the designation for the system that modernizes the ICBM leg of the United States’ nuclear triad.

“Our nation’s nuclear deterrent force, two legs of which is operated by airmen, has quietly provided a strategic security shield for decades,” Kendall said. “All that time, the Department of the Air Force has kept the watch; always vigilant and ready. The name Sentinel recognizes the mindset that thousands of Airmen, past and present, have brought to the deterrence mission, and will serve as a reminder for those who operate, secure, and maintain this system in the future about the discipline and responsibility their duty entails.”

The Air Force determined the LGM-35A Sentinel would provide continuity in strategic deterrence and cost less than extending the life of the current ICBM fleet, comprised of the aging Minuteman III.

Replacing the 1970s-era missile modernizes the ground-based leg of the nuclear triad and brings the Minuteman’s more than 50 years of service to a close.

The air force revealed the name of its new missile after selecting Northrop Grumman engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the program in 2020. schedule of initial operational capability by 2029. The air force has already unveiled three locations that will host GBSD.

“As the Air Force celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, the Minuteman III Weapon System has been and will continue to be integral to our Nation’s defense,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. “As we look ahead to the next 75 years, investing in nuclear modernization is as relevant as ever and we are committed to transitioning to the Sentinel, which will ensure our nation is ready to provide strategic deterrence for tomorrow.”

 Illustration of the LGM-35A Sentinel launch silo, the Air Force’s newest weapon system known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent