Northrop Grumman Announces Completion of GBSD Review Last November

Northrop Grumman [NOC] said on Feb. 16 that it had “successfully conducted its first major design review” for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) engineering and manufacturing development (EMD) baseline last November.

A company spokesman did not return an email by press time on why the company had not announced the completion of the review when it happened in November.

“The next key milestone is the integrated baseline review (IBR),” Northrop Grumman said. “The EMD baseline review (EBR) is an assessment of the current technical baseline, which includes user requirements, program data and configuration elements, and is the first step in transitioning ownership of the allocated baseline to the government. The three-day event was held virtually with more than 100 people in attendance throughout Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force. The team is currently on schedule to meet IBR, which sets the program’s performance measurement baseline.”

Defense analysts in Washington, D.C., and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, have suggested that DoD could cut GBSD numbers and extend the service life of the Minuteman III, while maintaining nuclear deterrence.

But Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of U.S .Strategic Command, said last month that Minuteman IIIs are past the point of service life extension and that GBSD will have “cyber resilience” against threats

 (Defense Daily, Jan. 6).

Current plans call for replacing the 400 deployed Minuteman III ICBMs with GBSDs, plus another 259 GBSDs for spares and testing. Acquisition costs will be at least $95 billion, while total life cycle costs could reach $264 billion, according to government estimates.

Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told senators during her confirmation hearing this month that she supports the nuclear triad but is worried about its readiness and that a review of such readiness would be one of her highest, immediate priorities (Defense Daily, Feb. 2).

Hicks told senators during the hearing that a review of nuclear capabilities would not be a rubber stamp for ongoing modernization efforts, including GBSD.

In September, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman [NOC] a $13 billion contract to build GBSD, the successor to the Boeing [BA] Minuteman III ICBMs. Northrop Grumman’s GBSD team includes Aerojet Rocketdyne [AJRD], Bechtel, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace [RTX], General Dynamics [GD], Honeywell [HON], Kratos Defense and Security Solutions [KTOS], L3Harris [LHX], Lockheed Martin [LMT] and Textron Systems [TXT].

Northrop Grumman plans to deliver a fully integrated GBSD by fiscal 2029 and to achieve full operational capability for GBSD by 2036.

The U.S. Air Force said last year that it plans to begin military construction as early as 2023 to house GBSD at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. Construction at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and Minot AFB, N.D., to house GBSD is to begin in 2026 and 2029, respectively.

Steve Lunny, Northrop Grumman’s vice president of the GBSD program,  said in a Feb. 16 statement that the Northrop Grumman GBSD team “is applying a digital engineering approach that will produce a modern strategic deterrent capability for our nation and its allies.”



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