Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., Hill Air Force Base, Utah, has been awarded a $3,860,000,000 contract for Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile ground subsystems support. This contract provides for sustaining engineering, maintenance engineering, test and assessment, modification of systems and equipment, software maintenance, developmental engineering, production engineering, repair and procurement. The work is expected to be completed July 6, 2039. U.S. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, Hill AFB, Utah, is the contracting activity.
The Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile must remain on alert and ready until its end-of-life â€“ later next decade. Minuteman III was originally manufactured in 1970 and has undergone multiple refurbishments to ensure viability. The Northrop Grumman propulsion systems team is addressing sustainment challenges of the missile propulsion system such as material obsolescence, associated hardware and/or equipment repair, and propellant aging-surveillance testing and analysis.
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.
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 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.