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US Air Force Opens for Bids to Switch Minuteman III ICBMs

The U.S. Air Force declared a request for offers for its new intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system to switch the…

By Emelia Murison , in News Space , at July 18, 2019 6:08 AM EDT Tags: , ,

The U.S. Air Force declared a request for offers for its new intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system to switch the Minuteman III system engineered in the Sixties.

The request for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent ICBMs, declared Tuesday, follows the weapon system’s Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase. It consists of five manufacturing options to produce and deploy the program.

Two contractors involved in the system’s present Technology Maturation and Threat Reduction section, Boeing and Northrop Grumman, will battle for the EMD deal, the Air Force mentioned. In August 2017, the service granted a $349 million contract to Boeing and $328 million to Northrop to improve their designs and minimize risk, slicing Lockheed Martin from the competition.

The GBSD is supposed to replace the aging LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM, which first became operational in the mid-Sixties and with enhancements of some parts, have logged over five decades of continuous operation.

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Facility expects to grant the contract to either Boeing or Northrop Grumman in the fourth quarter of the next fiscal year.

Ellen Lord, undersecretary of defense for purchase and sustainment, stated in May that an upgrade of nuclear functionality and modernization is needed, including that it no longer makes monetary sense to continue to increase the life of current Minuteman III ICBMs.

Senior Air Force leaders are in support of the modernization initiative.

In 2018, Northrop and Boeing Grumman submitted “trade research” to help the Air Force draft program requirements in the hope of the request for bids.