Minuteman III missile

DRS Technologies has been awarded a contract for the design, development and delivery of two transporter erector replacement vehicles for the US Air Force’s (USAF) Minuteman III inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBM) fleet.

Valued at $25m, the contract forms part of the Transporter Erector Replacement Program (TERP), which has a maximum potential value of over $92m if the USAF exercises options for up to 26 mobile vehicles.

Under the contract, DRS Environmental Systems will redesign and build new transport vehicles to help fully modernise the operational system and maintain booster handling operations through 2030.

DRS Power and Environmental Systems president Roger Sexauer said the company will leverage its expertise with system engineering, design, and production of mission-critical mobile shelters and transport trailers for the military to work on the contract.

"The Environmental Systems team has been supporting the Air Force ICBM program office for over 20 years and is committed to providing continued support to a critical part of the our Nation’s strategic deterrent forces," Sexauer added.

The air force’s existing transporter erector, which was fielded in 1988, is being replaced by the Air Force Global Strike Command with a modern and forward-looking system.

The vehicle is used for transport, positioning and removal of the Minuteman III booster at launch facilities at Warren Air Force Base (AFB) in Wyoming, Malmstrom AFB in Montana and Minot AFB in North Dakota, Hill AFB in Utah, as well as Vandenberg AFB in California, US.

Design and development of the first two transporter erectors for use in system qualification will be completed in November 2015, while delivery of all 26 vehicles, if options are exercised by the air force, will run until September 2019.

Manufactured by Boeing, LGM-30G Minuteman III is a ground-based ICBM designed to deliver nuclear warheads, and represents one component of a nuclear triad that is complemented by the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) and by nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bomber aircraft.

Image: USAF personnel inspects a LGM-30G Minuteman III missile inside a silo at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota, US. Photo: Staff Sgt. Alan R Wycheck.

Defence Technology