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Update: Northrop Grumman completes EBR milestone for GBSD

Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed the engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) baseline review (EBR) of its solution for the US Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), a next-generation land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) weapon system, which will be operated by the US Air Force (USAF).

Finalised in November 2020, but disclosed by Northrop Grumman on 16 February, the EBR comprised an assessment of the current GBSD technical baseline, including user requirements, programme data, and configuration elements. EBR is the first step in transitioning ownership of the allocated baseline to the government. The next milestone is the integrated baseline review (IBR), which establishes the GBSD programme’s performance measurement baseline. The GBSD IBR is expected to eventuate in March this year.

Northrop Grumman was confirmed the prime contractor for the EMD phase of the GBSD programme under the provisions of a USD13.3 billion contract awarded in September 2020. The EMD award followed the company’s successful completion in May 2020 of the fourth and final major design review of its GBSD solution under the three-year Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction (TMRR) phase of the programme.

In August 2017, USAF awarded Boeing and Northrop Grumman separate three-year contracts – to the value of USD349.2 million and USD328.6 million respectively – for the GBSD programme’s TMRR phase. In July 2019 Boeing announced that it would not pursue the follow-on GBSD EMD phase contract, citing Northrop Grumman’s June 2018 acquisition of Orbital ATK, Boeing's original supplier of solid rocket motors, as potentially unfavourable to the balance of the competition. Subsequently, in December 2019, USAF confirmed that it had received only one proposal in response to a solicitation for “GBSD Engineering and Manufacturing Development, early production and deployment”, and that it would “proceed with an aggressive and effective sole-source negotiation [with Northrop Grumman]”.

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