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Defence Notes

Northrop Grumman to help keep Minuteman III going until 2040

21st April 2021 - 14:45 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test in 2019. (Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Hanah Abercrombie)

Minuteman engineering and programme management support deal is worth $2.31 billion.

The US Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center has awarded Northrop Grumman a $2.31 billion sole-source contract to provide Minuteman III engineering support and programme management support services.

The deal includes an 18.5-year ordering period for assistance to the intercontinental ballistic missile programme, meaning that work is expected to be completed by November 2040.

‘Work shall be in areas including, but not limited to sustaining engineering, maintenance engineering, modification of systems and equipment, hardware and software maintenance, developmental and production engineering, procurement, replenishment, repair and refurbishment’, the DoD announced on 20 April.

It added: ‘The primary focus shall be to identify ageing mechanism[s], anomalous behaviour, and ensure any modifications or changes to the system which shall maintain and/or improve system-level performance.’

Keeping all or part of the Minuteman III arsenal in service until 2040 means there will be some overlap with the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) designed to replace the older ICBMs from the late 2020s.

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