Boeing has presented the U.S. Air Force with design options for America’s next intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD).
The review marks the achievement of a key contract milestone.
“We offered the Air Force cost and performance trades for a deterrent that will address emerging and future threats,” said Frank McCall, vice president, Boeing Strategic Deterrence Systems. “By considering the various capabilities and opportunities for cost savings, the Air Force can prioritize system requirements as we progress toward the program’s next phase.”
In October 2016, Boeing responded to a U.S. Air Force solicitation for the GBSD Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract, to partner with the Air Force to develop a new ICBM system.
The U.S. Air Force awarded Boeing a $349 million contract in August last year to mature the GBSD weapon system design. Boeing completed a system requirements review in November. A system functional review will occur later this year, and Boeing will present its preliminary design review to the Air Force in 2020.
Designed to serve as a reliable deterrent to nuclear threats over the next 50-plus years, the GBSD weapon system will begin to replace the Minuteman III ICBM in the late 2020s. As the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and a prime systems integrator, Boeing created, tested and deployed every Minuteman ICBM for the Air Force – more than 1,800 Minuteman-series missiles.
Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD)
The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) is the next-generation nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) being developed to replace the LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBMs currently in service with the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC).
A request for proposal for development and maintenance of the next-generation ICBM, was made by the U.S. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, ICBM Systems Directorate, GBSD Division on 29 July 2016. The Air Force estimates the cost of the GBSD, to be introduced late in the 2020s and phased in over the following decade, will be around $86 billion over the missiles’ life cycle of about 50 years.
Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman were initially competing for the contract. On 21 August 2017, the Air Force awarded 3-year Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) contracts to Boeing and Northrop Grumman, for $349 million and $329 million, respectively.
The Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) phase of the program will begin in 2020 with one of the two companies selected. The GBSD program is expected to enter service in 2029 and remain active until 2075.