Northrop Grumman secures first phase of $85B Air Force ICBM contract
Falls Church defense contractor awarded $13.8B toward modernizing land-based U.S. nuclear missile system
The U.S. Air Force awarded the first $13.3 billion phase of an expected $85 billion Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) contract to Falls Church-based Fortune 500 defense contractor Northrop Grumman Corp., the company announced Tuesday.
Under the $13.3 billion engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) phase of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program awarded Tuesday, Northrop Grumman 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.
“Our nation is facing a rapidly evolving threat environment and protecting our citizens with a modern strategic deterrent capability has never been more critical,” Northrop Grumman Chairman, CEO and President Kathy Warden said in a statement. “With more than 65 years of technical leadership on every ICBM system, our nationwide team is honored and committed to continuing our partnership with the U.S. Air Force to deliver a safe, secure and effective system that will contribute to global stability for years to come.”
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.
Northrop Grumman for more than a year has been the sole competitor for the contract after The Boeing Co. announced in July 2019 that it had withdrawn its proposal. In 2018, Northrop Grumman acquired rocket motor producer Orbital ATK, which Boeing defense CEO said caused the Air Force to “take no steps to mitigate Northrop’s anticompetitive and inherently unfair cost, resource and integration advantages” related to solid rocket motors, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.
Northrop Grumman has also 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.
Work on the contract will be performed in Roy and Promontory, Utah; Huntsville and Montgomery, Alabama; Colorado Springs, Colorado; Bellevue, Nebraska; San Diego and Woodland Hills, California; Chandler Arizona; Annapolis Junction, Maryland; and other nationwide offices.
Northrop Grumman employs more than 90,000 people and reported $33.8 billion in 2019 revenue.