Northrop Grumman has received an $86m follow-on US Air Force contract for the rocket systems launch programme (RSLP) Peacekeeper and Minuteman solid rocket motor ageing surveillance.

The eight-year contract was awarded by the US Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Launch Systems Enterprise, Small Launch and Targets Division (SMC/LEX) at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

Contract work involves ongoing ageing surveillance for all deactivated Minuteman and Peacekeeper motors.

Northrop Grumman will provide a range of services, including component dissection, motor plugging, propellant properties testing and hazards analysis, as well as overall programme support.

The RSLP contract also requires the company to conduct special studies and additional component development or testing on an as-required basis.

“Retired Minuteman and Peacekeeper motors are used for government launches for the Minotaur series of rockets and Missile Defense Agency missions.”

Northrop Grumman innovation systems strategic programmes vice-president Kent Rominger said: “We are honoured and very pleased to continue our support to the airforce’s Rocket Systems Launch Program.

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“Northrop Grumman’s long history of working with the airforce and SMC speaks for itself, we’re very proud of our work on this effort.”

The company has been supporting RSLP solid rocket motor testing and analysis for all deactivated Minuteman and Peacekeeper assets since 1997.

Retired Minuteman and Peacekeeper motors are used for government launches for the Minotaur series of rockets and Missile Defense Agency missions.

In addition, these motors serve other purposes, including test launches such as next year’s Ascent Abort-2 Nasa Orion and Launch Abort System test flight, and sounding rockets.

In September, the US Department of Defense awarded ATK Launch Systems an ageing surveillance services contract for Minuteman and Peacekeeper systems.

Northrop Grumman announced in June 2018 that it closed the acquisition of Orbital ATK.