Next-generation US nuke programme passes baseline review
Northrop Grumman announced on 7 April that it has passed a ‘critical milestone’ by completing the Integrated Baseline Review (IBR) for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) programme.
The review sets a benchmark for performance measurement of GBSD and keeps the programme on track for IOC with the USAF by 2029, the company added.
Using the W87 mod 1 thermonuclear warhead, GBSD will replace the LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
‘Given the sheer size and importance of schedule integration, we had to be agile in meeting this critical milestone; there is no margin for delay,’ said Steve Lunny, VP of the GBSD programme at Northrop Grumman.
This agility is enabled by adopting digital engineering principles to ‘model and authenticate virtual designs and significantly shorten development timelines’, the company stated. As a result, GBSD is designated as an e-Series programme by the USAF.
Northrop Grumman leads an EMD team including Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bechtel, Clark, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, L3 Harris, Lockheed Martin and Textron Systems, as well as hundreds of SMEs in the defence industry.
The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center awarded the team a $13.29 billion EMD contract in September 2020.
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