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Northrop Grumman awarded contract to sustain Minuteman III propulsion

The US Air Force (USAF) has placed the USD287 million base contract with Northrop Grumman for engineering services to sustain the propulsion system of the LGM-30G Minuteman III silo-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system.

Awarded on 4 May, but publicly disclosed on 10 June, the Propulsion Subsystem Support Contract (PSSC) 2.0 has, with options, a contract ceiling of USD2.3 billion over 18.5 years, and supports USAF's Minuteman III Systems Directorate at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

β€œThe Northrop Grumman propulsion systems team is addressing sustainment challenges of the missile propulsion system such as material obsolescence, associated hardware and/or equipment repair, and propellant ageing-surveillance testing and analysis,” the company said in a release.

Northrop Grumman is also the prime contractor for the USD13.3 billion Engineering and Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the successor Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) programme, a next-generation land-based ICBM weapon system that will eventually replace the LGM-30G Minuteman III system. Awarded in September 2020, EMD includes full system design, qualification, test and evaluation, and nuclear certification. Upon successful completion of the EMD phase, the Northrop Grumman-led team will begin producing and delivering a modern and fully integrated ICBM system to meet the USAF's schedule of achieving a GBSD initial operational capability by 2029.

The company leads a GBSD team, which includes Aerojet Rocketdyne (which will develop the large solid rocket motor and the post-boost propulsion system solutions for the GBSD), Bechtel, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, HDT Global, Honeywell, Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, and Textron Systems, along with other small and medium-sized companies from across the US defence, engineering, and construction sectors.

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