Boeing

Always on Guard

Strategic Deterrence Systems

Strategic Deterrence Systems integrates Boeing’s support of the land-based leg of America’s nuclear deterrence triad, the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). The company also sustains vital navigational and control systems across the triad (which also involves U.S. Air Force bombers and U.S. Navy Ohio-class submarines).

In October 2016, Boeing responded to a U.S. Air Force solicitation for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract, to partner with the Air Force to develop a new ICBM system. Boeing was one of two companies to be awarded TMRR on Aug. 21, 2017. We are honored to partner with the Air Force on the critical strategic deterrence mission.

Boeing is committed to our partnership with the Air Force, to keeping the United States’ current land-based strategic deterrent safe, secure and reliable, and to the modernization and development of future strategic triad systems that will give the nation a technological leap forward in capability against evolving threats.

Minuteman III ICBM

Since 1958, Boeing has designed, fielded and been a key integrator of the Minuteman series of ICBMs, the nation’s land-based nuclear deterrent. Throughout more than 50 years of continuous enhancements, Boeing innovations in design, sustainment, maintenance and modernization have ensured the safety, security and effectiveness of the Minuteman system.

Unmatched ICBM Heritage

As the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and a prime systems integrator, Boeing created, tested and deployed every Minuteman ICBM for the Air Force – more than 1,800 Minuteman-series missiles. This, while beating accelerated schedules to deliver an ICBM that has far exceeded its expected lifespan of 10 years. Decades later, Boeing remains integral to keeping the Minuteman III going strong, with an average alert rate of 99.7 percent.

Learn more about our ICBM heritage and the Minuteman III ICBM

Ground Based Strategic Deterrent

The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) is the Air Force’s intended replacement for the Boeing LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM weapon system, the land-based, silo-launched backbone of the deterrence triad. The TMRR phase starts in 2017.  Engineering & Manufacturing Development (EMD) will begin in 2020. GBSD deployment is expected to begin in 2029, and GBSD will remain in service through 2075.

The Air Force notified Boeing on Aug. 21, 2017 that the company is one of two selected for the GBSD TMRR contract, to partner with the Air Force to provide a safe, secure and effective ICBM system to deter emerging, modern nuclear threats.

Boeing’s GBSD design is built on mature technologies. It offers lower risk and a smooth transition from Minuteman III to GBSD readiness, without costly delays from knowledge transfer or learning curves.

Deterrence through the 21st Century

Future ICBM infographic

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Boeing Guidance Repair Center

The Boeing Guidance Repair Center (BGRC) in Heath, Ohio, is responsible for the repair, refurbishment, test and calibration of guidance and control systems found on nuclear-capable platforms for the Air Force and Navy. BGRC also performs identical work on non-nuclear capable guidance and control systems, electronics and radio frequency systems and processors for other platforms. Boeing is the sole provider of Minuteman III ICBM repair services through 2021 and sole provider of aircraft guidance and control services through 2020.

Minuteman Programs

Minuteman Programs employees keep Boeing-built Minuteman III ICBM and associated systems operational for the Air Force at all times. They work at each of the missile wings, in several facilities across northern Utah, in Southern California, and at the Boeing Guidance Repair Center in Ohio. Program leaders have offices at Hill Air Force Base, south of Ogden, Utah, where Boeing has been located near its military customer since the 1950s.

Strategic Deterrence Systems Customer

US Flag

The Minuteman III ICBM is an element of the United States’ strategic deterrent forces under the control of U.S. Strategic Command. U.S. Global Strike Command is the force provider, responsible for organization, training, and equipping the operational units to ensure readiness.

The current ICBM force consists of Minuteman III missiles at the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming; the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota; and the 341st Missile Wing at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana.

The ICBM Systems Directorate (ICBMSD), which reports to the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center within Air Force Materiel Command, is the engineering authority and acquisition agent for the ICBM force. Boeing works with the ICBMSD to sustain and upgrade the Minuteman III and provides technical assistance to ensure the continued reliability of the Minuteman III ICBM.

    Minuteman III ICBM: Safe, Secure, Reliable

    GT-223GM MMIII Flight Test: Aug. 2, 2017

    Strategic Deterrence Systems Feature Stories

    Every Minute Counts

    Every Minute Counts

    March 21, 2017 in Defense

    Boeing employees assigned to Air Force laboratories at Little Mountain Test Facility in Utah repeatedly test and upgrade the Minuteman III ICBM – a weapon system designed to last 10 years that is now more than five decades old.

    Learn More

    Strategic Deterrence Systems Milestones

    Strategic Deterrence Systems Quick Facts

    Boeing is the original equipment manufacturer of the Minuteman series of ICBMs, including the current Minuteman III. The company is also a significant contributor to all aspects of ICBM sustainment. As the Air Force prepares to modernize the strategic deterrence triad with solutions including the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, Boeing will once again answer the call. We will deliver the capability, flexibility and affordability demanded by the mission – on time, on budget and with the best of Boeing technology, innovation, engineering and experience.

    Oct. 9, 1958 – The U.S. Air Force selected Boeing as the prime contractor and original equipment manufacturer for the Minuteman ICBM. Within a year, Boeing launched the first tethered Minuteman I mockup. Minuteman was the first ICBM to use solid rather than liquid propellant in its rocket motors, and it was smaller in size. Minuteman I could be launched more quickly than earlier ICBMs.

    Oct. 24, 1962 – The first Minuteman I missile field went on alert a year ahead of schedule, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana. Minuteman I achieved initial operational capability in November of 1962.

    July 1963 – Minuteman II went on alert. Minuteman II deployment was complete by the summer of 1965. Boeing designed Minuteman II with greater firepower, improved range and greater targeting flexibility.

    June 1968 – The first Minuteman III training missile shipped from Air Force Plant 77 — operated by Boeing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah — to Boeing in Seattle, Wash., for acceptance testing and checkout. Air Force Plant 77 was the final assembly point for all Minuteman missiles.

    1970 – Minuteman III began deployment, and full operational capability was declared in April 1975. It had an expected lifespan of 10 years.

    1974 – Boeing becomes the primary contractor for the operation and maintenance of Little Mountain Test Facility near Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

    1980s – Boeing modified Minuteman silos for the Peacekeeper ICBM, which deployed in 1986.

    August 1993 – Boeing began to redesign the Minuteman III guidance electronics to extend the service life of the missile beyond 2020. Boeing completed 82 months – or nearly seven years – of consecutive on-time or early deliveries of the upgraded missile guidance sets (MGS) to the U.S. Air Force, delivering the final upgraded MGS in February of 2009.

    June 24, 1998 – A Minuteman III ICBM equipped with the upgraded guidance system completed its first successful test flight from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

    September 2014 – Boeing received an Air Force contract to develop a new Guidance Data Acquisition System for the Minuteman III ICBM.

    January 2015 – Boeing received an Air Force contract to continue to maintain Minuteman III ICBM guidance systems.

    October 2016 – Boeing responded to the Air Force solicitation for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) Technology Maturation & Risk Reduction (TMRR) contract, to partner with the Air Force to provide a “future ICBM” to deter emerging, modern nuclear threats.

    August 2017 – Boeing was honored to receive one of two GBSD TMRR contracts to start work on the system’s preliminary design.