Air Force May Seek Funding Shift For New ICBM

The U.S. Air Force may ask Congress to move around previously approved funds for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) because the program is running ahead of schedule, according to service officials.

GBSD “is on schedule. In fact, it’s actually a little ahead of schedule and we may be coming to you with a reprogramming request in this year just to continue on and keep ahead of schedule,” Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testified before the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense panel May 17. 

The Air Force test launches a Minuteman III ICBM in September 2010. Photo: Air Force.

The Air Force test launches a Minuteman III ICBM in September 2010. Photo: Air Force.

A Wilson spokesman later indicated that GBSD is about five months ahead of schedule.

The Air Force is developing GBSD to replace its aging, nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile. The program received about $216 million in fiscal year 2018.

In August, Boeing [BA] and Northrop Grumman [NOC] received GBSD technology maturation and risk reduction contracts valued at $349.2 million and $328.6 million, respectively, over three years (Defense Daily, Aug. 21). The Air Force is currently slated to award a single engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) contract to one of the companies in late 2020.

The fiscal year 2019 defense authorization bill that the House Armed Services Committee passed last week calls for the Air Force to write a plan to accelerate GBSD.

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