The U.S. Air Force just announced that the contract to develop preliminary designs for America’s next intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) has been awarded to Boeing, and a portion of that work will be done in Huntsville, Alabama.
This system will be critical to keep America safe as an offensive nuclear deterrent against rogue nations like North Korea and Iran going forward, as our current system, the Minuteman III is still operable, but aging.
With a $359 million contract, Boeing and Northrop Grumman will get to work on designing the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, which will America’s current Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) system, the Minuteman III ICBM.
In 2020, the Air Force will choose one company to develop the new land-based element of America’s nuclear triad. Missiles launched from submarines and aircraft are the other elements of the triad.
As Boeing commented in its press release today,
“Since the first Minuteman launch in 1961, the U.S. Air Force has relied on our technologies for a safe, secure and reliable ICBM force,” said Frank McCall, Boeing director of Strategic Deterrence Systems and GBSD program manager. “As the Air Force prepares to replace the Minuteman III, we will once again answer the call by drawing on the best of Boeing to deliver the capability, flexibility and affordability the mission requires.”
Boeing’s work will be done in Huntsville, as well as in Ogden, Utah; Heath, Ohio; and other unspecified locations.
The Minuteman III replacement effort will include flight, command and control, and launch systems. The Engineering and Manufacturing Development phase of the program will be awarded to one company in 2020.
This project will bring a few hundred high-wage jobs to Boeing in Alabama, not counting the jobs it will create for their suppliers. Most importantly, it will play a vital role in bolstering our country’s national security.