Boeing to supply Mod 7 wafer support kits for Minuteman ICBM test flight program

Boeing has been awarded a modification to a previously awarded contract for mod 7 wafer instrumentation support kits in support of the Minuteman force development evaluation test flight program at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The contract , worth around $40 million, was awarded by U.S. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. Fiscal 2016 and 2017 missile procurement funds are being obligated at the time of award.

Work will be performed at Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, Layton, Utah, with an expected completion date of May 11, 2022.

Mod 7 wafer instrumentation

Minuteman III telemetry, test, and termination systems are packaged in a wafer-like package called the Mod 7 that fits on test versions of the Minuteman between the missile’s reentry system and missile guidance set. The instrumentation wafer transmits missile performance, telemetry and position data and receives command destruct messages during missile flight tests and evaluations.

The Mod 7 package thus enable Air Force personnel to destroy the missile in flight if it performs poorly and takes the wrong path.

The Mod 7 wafer is installed only on missiles that will be test fired from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California to an impact site in the Pacific Ocean near the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll.

LGM-30 Minuteman:

LGM-30 Minuteman is a U.S. land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), in service with the Air Force Global Strike Command.

As of 2017, the LGM-30G Minuteman III version is the only land-based ICBM in service in the United States. It is one component of the U.S. nuclear triad—the other two parts of the triad being the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), and nuclear weapons carried by long-range strategic bombers.

Each Minuteman III missile is 60 feet tall, 5.5 feet in diameter, and powered by three solid rocket motors that can launch the 80,000-pound missile to altitudes of 700 miles to deliver nuclear warheads as far away as 6,500 miles. Each missile can carry as many as three independently targeted warheads in separate reentry vehicles (MIRV).

Peaking at 1,000 missiles in the 1970s, the current U.S. force consists of 450 Minuteman-III missiles in missile silos around Malmstrom AFB, Montana; Minot AFB, North Dakota; and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming.

By February 2018 this will be reduced to 400 armed missiles, with 50 unarmed missiles in reserve, and four non-deployed test launchers to comply with the New START treaty.

The Air Force plans to keep the missile in service until at least 2030.

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