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The US Air Force selected Northrop Grumman to lead modernisation of America’s ageing ICBM fleet, awarding a $13.3 billion (€11.2 billion) contract for the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) programme on 8 September.

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center announced that the effort will span eight-and-ahalf years and will include weapon system design, qualification, test and evaluation and nuclear certification. Upon successful 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.

Our nation is facing a rapidly evolving threat environment and protecting our citizens with a modern strategic deterrent capability has never been more critical,” commented Kathy Warden, Chairman, CEO and President, Northrop Grumman. “With more than 65 years of technical leadership on every ICBM system, our nationwide team [will] deliver a safe, secure and effective system that will contribute to global stability for years to come.”

The EMD award follows a highly successful three-year technology maturation and risk reduction (TMRR) Phase 1 effort under the GBSD competition. The Northrop Grumman team demonstrated innovation and agility by applying a digital engineering approach and has achieved all TMRR design review milestones on time and on cost.

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, and hundreds of small and medium-sized companies from across the defence industries. Overall, some 10,000 workers across the US will be working directly on this vital national security programme.

GBSD will replace the existing, creaking land-based strategic deterrent, centred on the MINUTEMAN missile, with a credible, capable modern system. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

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