Northrop Grumman passes early stage of $85B Air Force ICBM contract
Falls Church company working on modernizing land-based U.S. nuclear missile system
Falls Church-based Fortune 500 defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp. announced Tuesday it underwent the first major design review — a key baseline — for the Air Force’s $85 billion Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) contract.
In September 2020, Northrop Grumman announced the Air Force had awarded it the first $13.3 billion phase of the expected $85 billion contract, under which the company will perform weapon system design, qualification, test and evaluation and nuclear certification to replace and modernize the country’s current Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) nuclear weapon system.
On Tuesday, Northrop Grumman announced it had “successfully conducted” the first design review for the engineering and manufacturing (EMD) baseline in November 2020. The EMD assesses the technical baseline of the project, including user requirements, program data and configuration elements. The EMD event lasted three days and was held virtually for more than 100 people from Northrop Grumman and the Air Force.
“Achieving this milestone demonstrates our team’s commitment to deliver a safe, secure and reliable system to the U.S. Air Force on-schedule and on-budget,” Steve Lunny, Northrop Grumman vice president of the GBSD program, said in a statement. “Our team is applying a digital engineering approach that will produce a modern strategic deterrent capability for our nation and its allies.”
Following the EMD phase, Northrop Grumman will then begin producing and delivering a modern and fully integrated ground-based ICBM nuclear weapon system by 2029. The next phase of the project is the integrated baseline review.
Before the Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman the contract last year, the company had been the sole competitor after The Boeing Co. announced in July 2019 that it had withdrawn its proposal.
The company has formed a team of more than 10,000 people to help build the modernized weapons system infrastructure for the new missiles. Team members include companies in the defense, engineering and construction industries such as Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bechtel Corp., Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, HDT Global, Honeywell, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin and Textron Systems, along with other small and medium-sized businesses.
Northrop Grumman employs more than 90,000 people and reported $33.8 billion in 2019 revenue.