The American company Northrop Grumman won the US Air Force tender for the development and production of a new intercontinental ballistic missile GBSD, which will replace the aging Minuteman-III. According to Defense News, within the framework of the concluded contract for the development of a new ICBM, $ 13,3 billion has been allocated.
Northrop Grumman will be the primary US company that will develop the new ICBM. Development assistance will be provided by several American companies and corporations, including General Dynamics, Kratos Defense, Lockheed Martin, Textron Systems and others, all work will be carried out at the Northrop Grumman site.
Earlier, the tender was attended by the Boeing concern, which in mid-2019 withdrew from the project, explaining its decision by dissatisfaction with the terms of the tender for the development of a new ballistic missile.
The details of the development of the new ICBM are not disclosed, it is only known that under the terms of the contract, the new ICBM will have to use the Mk.12A and Mk.21 warheads from the Minuteman-III ICBMs, in which one or more W78 nuclear charges (350 kilotons) can be placed and W87 (300 kilotons) respectively. Also, the new rocket should be universal, it is possible that it will begin to be placed on mobile platforms.
The US Air Force's GBSD (Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent) program involves the gradual replacement of all 2027 Minuteman-450 ground-based ICBMs from 3 and is estimated at $ 85 billion. After being put into service, the new ICBMs should be in service with the United States at least until 2075.
Minuteman III is the only intercontinental ground-based ballistic missile currently in service with the United States. Three-stage missiles of this family were originally created for nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union. According to the latest data from open sources, the United States has 450 missiles Minuteman 3, capable of hitting the target with three warheads at a range of 12 thousands of kilometers.