The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin for sustainment of the reentry subsystem for the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system.
Under the contract, which has an initial value of $109m, the company will repair, modify and test hardware and software components in the reentry system-reentry vehicle (RS-RV) subsystem.
A part of USAF’s Future ICBM Sustainment and Acquisition Construct, which is designed to ensure a safe, secure and reliable Minuteman III weapon system through 2030, the contract will include related support equipment and repair, modification and testing of hardware and software components in the reentry system-reentry vehicle (RS-RV) subsystem.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company ICBM and advanced programmes vice-president Doug Graham said: "This new contract will enable us to directly apply our specialised expertise to more effectively support this critical national mission area."
The RS-RV contract has a one-year base performance period and options for an additional four years, and the total potential value of $452m.
As the principal designer, manufacturer and sustainer of Minuteman III reentry systems since the 1960s, Lockheed has also developed a process for refurbishing the MK21 reentry vehicle’s arming and fusing assemblies at a fraction of the cost of producing new units.
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The intricate procedure is designed to replace or recondition electronic and mechanical components, extending the units’ service life to support the Minuteman III through to 2030.
The company is also working with the air force to support its refurbishment activities at Hill Air Force Base (AFB) in Utah, US.
Work under the contract is scheduled to be primarily carried out at Hill AFB, where the ICBM System Program Office is located, and in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, US.
Manufactured by Boeing, the 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: A USAF personnel inspects LGM-30G Minuteman III missile inside a silo. Photo: courtesy of Staff Sgt. Alan R Wycheck.