The U.S. Air Force has awarded the contract for sustaining engineering support and program management support services for the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) propulsion subsystem. The deal with an ordering period of 18.5 years is provided for assistance to the government in maintaining the Minuteman III weapon system. The Minuteman is a strategic weapon system using a ballistic missile of intercontinental range. The contract, from Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and announced on Tuesday, is valued at more than $2,3 billion.
Per the contract, work shall be in areas including, but not limited to; sustaining engineering, maintenance engineering, modification of systems and equipment, replenishment, repair and refurbishment. The primary focus shall be to identify aging mechanism, anomalous behavior, and ensure any modifications or changes to the system which shall maintain and/or improve system-level performance. The location of performance is primarily Corrine and Magna, Utah, with various other locations. Work is expected to be completed Nov. 5, 2040.
The LGM-30 Minuteman is a U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command. As of 2021, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version[a] is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States and represents the land leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, along with the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers. The Minuteman is a deterrence weapon that could hit Soviet cities with a second strike and countervalue counterattack if the U.S. was attacked.
The LGM-30G Minuteman-III program started in 1966 and included several improvements over the previous versions. It was first deployed in 1970. Most modifications related to the final stage and reentry system (RS). The final (third) stage was improved with a new fluid-injected motor, giving finer control than the previous four-nozzle system. Performance improvements realized in Minuteman-III include increased flexibility in reentry vehicle (RV) and penetration aids deployment, increased survivability after a nuclear attack, and increased payload capacity.