Military Review

"Impossible to upgrade endlessly": The US called for a new ICBM to replace the outdated Minuteman III


The American Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles, which have been in service for more than half a century, are significantly outdated and will soon pose a threat to the United States itself. Peter Hussie writes about this in his article for the National Interest.

In his article, the author declares that the state of the US nuclear shield is "poor" and urgent action is needed. It all comes down to the fact that Minuteman III cannot be upgraded indefinitely, but it is necessary to move on to the creation of new intercontinental ballistic missiles, which will replace the already obsolete American ICBMs.

Hussie criticized supporters of the program for the next extension of the service life of old missiles, pointing out that this procedure is becoming more and more expensive. At the same time, if no measures are taken, then in 10 years these missiles "will simply fall apart."

Unfortunately, the life of Minuteman III can no longer be extended.

- said the expert.

The author, apparently, did not know or preferred to remain silent about the fact that the United States has been working on the creation of a new ICBM for quite a long time, which in the future will replace the Minuteman III.

Previously, Boeing and Northrop Grumman were engaged in development, but in 2019 Boeing left the project, and Northrop Grumman received a contract and defended an intercontinental missile project in the fall of 2020.

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 assumes the gradual replacement of all 2027 Minuteman-III ground-based ICBMs from 450 and is estimated at almost $ 100 billion. Once adopted, the new ICBMs should remain in service with the United States until at least 2075.

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  1. svp67
    svp67 April 12 2021 07: 45
    I am very surprised that they delayed this process so much, given their military budget.
    1. LifeIsGood
      LifeIsGood April 12 2021 07: 58
      The "rocket lobby" seems to be very lame laughing
      1. Andrey Korotkov
        Andrey Korotkov April 12 2021 08: 20
        Quote: LifeIsGood
        The "rocket lobby" seems to be very lame laughing

        Thought the topic, time - yes now catching up
        1. Alex777
          Alex777 April 12 2021 09: 39
          Rearmament is a lot of money.
          The cleverly glued ones want to successfully "disarm".
          Like they are destroying the old MM, and we are destroying our new ones.

          But ours said long ago that no further strategic arms reductions would be discussed without decisions on missile defense. hi
      2. Yngvar
        Yngvar April 12 2021 08: 30
        Most likely, this direction of development does not receive due to the fact that it will not be possible to sell a vigorous weapon later! And for the states, the arms trade is one of the most lucrative items. This is not the F-35 to sell to allies (vassals) ...
    2. Anzhey V.
      Anzhey V. April 12 2021 08: 03
      There, in fact, there is nothing surprising - after the end of the Cold War, strategic nuclear forces in the United States became "a suitcase without a handle."

      You can read more about this here -
    3. paul3390
      paul3390 April 12 2021 08: 05
      This is not an essential thing .. They themselves are not going to start a nuclear war in the near future, that no one will attack them - they know a lot. For the only global aggressor on the planet is the United States .. So it can be postponed. It is enough to cut the dough of other projects. And the possibilities of printing candy wrappers are of course huge, but still finite. Therefore - it will be quite simple to indicate - they have rockets. And they fly, they do not fly - in fact, it makes no difference. While other countries are ready to play along in the "Wah! I'm afraid, I'm afraid" style ...
      1. ironic
        ironic April 12 2021 13: 46
        Well, they have no less training launches than the Russian Federation and so far not a single emergency.
    4. 210ox
      210ox April 12 2021 08: 21
      For twenty years they believed that the enemy was finished. We rested on our laurels. But no.
      1. ironic
        ironic April 12 2021 13: 48
        So they are not going to carry out unplanned operations today. All upgrades have already been financed and scheduled.
    5. knn54
      knn54 April 12 2021 08: 58
      After the collapse of the USSR, the American nuclear deterrent began to be in a "mothballed" state.
      The threat of the Third World War disappeared, the military budget began to be "optimized". A new effective but expensive-to-operate heavy ICBM LGM-118 "Peacekeeper" (including) fell under the cut. And the most recent American warhead is already thirty years old!
      There was a ban on the allocation of funds for the development of any mobile launchers - analogs of Yars and Topol.
      Therefore, due to some weakening of the land component of the nuclear triad, the Americans diplomatically and economically put pressure on the Russian Federation and the PRC in order to accelerate the disarmament process ..
      1. ironic
        ironic April 12 2021 13: 43
        There will be no more disarmament. START III will remain the same for a long time. The United States will simply gradually renew its triad, and the Russian Federation is doing the same now.
    6. xorek
      xorek April 12 2021 09: 18
      Quote: svp67
      I am very surprised that they delayed this process so much, given their military budget.

      They hoped for their armada of AUGs and military bases around Russia ... Let them catch up, swallowing dust ..))))
    7. Roman070280
      Roman070280 April 12 2021 11: 05
      I am very surprised that they delayed this process so much, given their military budget.

      This is just another indication that no one is going to attack us ..
      Although our TV is trying in every possible way to convince us otherwise ..
  2. rocket757
    rocket757 April 12 2021 07: 48
    Expensive, and they do not feel danger, for their beloved.
    Moreover, they do not have all their eggs in one basket.
  3. TerraSandera
    TerraSandera April 12 2021 08: 16
    They are always one step ahead, near our borders, always on the offensive. What are they afraid of? China, but there is still time left. And it will be easier to break China. They have already overthrown their strongest rival.
  4. rotmistr60
    rotmistr60 April 12 2021 10: 42
    the life of Minuteman III can no longer be extended ... gradual replacement with 2027 all 450 ICBMs
    It's mine, but how can we resist Russia and maintain nuclear parity? Self-confidence and the hope that Russia is about to fall apart and can be taken with bare hands to no good. It's just that the guys were always sure that Russia would not be the first to attack and spent money on other needs.
    1. ironic
      ironic April 12 2021 13: 41
      What's wrong with parity? They will be replaced with new ones and there will be parity up to 75. Megabahi and the Russian Federation have practically ceased to build. Unproductive.
  5. ironic
    ironic April 12 2021 13: 39
    W87-1 - 475KT. The zero version will not be installed on the new rocket.
  6. Old26
    Old26 April 12 2021 16: 47
    Quote: svp67
    I am very surprised that they delayed this process so much, given their military budget.

    It's all about euphoria from the collapse of the Union. We didn’t expect us to rise from our knees. By when they realized that they were mistaken, we followed the line of least resistance. We have carried out a total modernization under the LEP (Life Extension) program. This program includes a number of subroutines. The modernization went from the late 90s to 2011. In fact, everything was replaced: hulls, fuel, engines, guidance and control system, warheads. This rocket could have been given the designation "Minuteman-4" with a clear conscience, but they left the old name. The term of operation is 2035-2040. By the time the Americans begin to write off the "Minutemen-3", they will already begin the deployment of a new ICBM

    Quote: Anjay V.
    You can read more about this here -

    Have you decided to quote the most delusional article about American nuclear weapons? Oh well