Boeing [BA] and Northrop Grumman [NOC] have edged out Lockheed Martin [LMT] for contracts to mature designs for the Ground-based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), the replacement for the Air Force’s aging, nuclear-armed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the service announced late Aug. 21.
"We are moving forward with modernization of the ground-based leg of the nuclear triad," Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said in a statement. "Our missiles were built in the 1970s. Things just wear out, and it becomes more expensive to maintain them than to replace them. We need to cost-effectively modernize."
Boeing and Northrop Grumman have been awarded technology maturation and risk reduction contracts valued at $349.2 million and $328.6 million, respectively, over three years.
“The companies selected were determined to provide the best overall value to the warfighter and taxpayers based on the source selection's evaluation factors -- technical approach/technical risk and cost/price,” the Air Force said.
The Air Force plans to award a single GBSD engineering and manufacturing development contract in late 2020.
The Air Force said it will pursue a “modular systems architecture” for GBSD to make it easier for companies to offer and make enhancements over the program’s life.