Northrop Grumman Lands a Nearly One Billion Dollar ICBM Contract with USAF

At the beginning of 2015, Northrop Grumman received a contract with the U.S. Air Force to supply Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. The contract is worth USD$963.5 million dollars over 5 years with an initial award value of USD$4.4 million. They are the sole award recipient and will provide an indefinite quantity of missiles. This contract extends the 50-year partnership between Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force on ICBMs. Northrop Grumman is uniquely qualified to perform the necessary activities because of their 17-year experience as the ICBM prime integration contractor. The contract stipulates that Northrop will provide program management support, engineering services and emergency response. The agreement encompasses weapon system analyses, system and subsystem assessment, and technical advisement and assistance to the ICBM Systems Directorate on ground systems-related programs, risk management and mitigation. The Minuteman-III was first deployed in 1970. At the time, it was armed with a W62 warhead with a yield of 170-kilotons of TNT. It was also the first Multiple Independently Target-able Reentry Vehicles missile. In other words, a single missile is able to target 3 different locations.

The new contract will extend the system’s life to 2030 by focusing on seven areas. First, the environmental control system will be upgraded in launch control center and launch facilities. The 1960s-era guidance electronics will be replaced with new guidance electronics that improve flight reliability, maintainability, sup-portability and nuclear safety. Next, the KI-22 ICBM Cryptography encryption device will be updated to ensure secure communications between launch control centers and launch control facilities. The physical security at launch facilities will be redesigned. Environmentally unacceptable materials will be replaced in the propulsion systems for stages 1, 2, and 3. The Propulsion System Rocket Engine will be upgraded for better sup-portability and reliability. Finally, the Peacekeeper Mk21 reentry vehicles will be moved to Minuteman III missiles. Northrop Grumman is a global security company who provides innovative systems, products and solutions in unmanned systems, cyber, C4ISR and logistics. As of 2010, they are the world’s fourth-largest defense contractor. Over 68,000 people are employed by Northrop Grumman around the world. In 2012, they reported USD$25.218 billion in revenue.


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