Northrop Grumman [NOC] said on Feb. 16 that it executed wind tunnel tests of its LGM-35A Sentinel ICBM for the U.S. Air Force.

“Using scaled models of the vehicle, stressed under environments from sub to hypersonic speeds, the robust test campaign validated digital modeling and simulations and proved design maturity of the missile,” the company said.

The wind tunnel testing forecast Sentinel’s performance under varied atmospheres, loads, and speeds and simulated firing the missile, stage separation, and flight maneuvers as a step toward developing the Sentinel flight hardware.

Sarah Willoughby, Northrop Grumman’s vice president and program manager of Sentinel, said in a company statement that the wind tunnel tests “were conducted at industry and government-run facilities across the U.S. in under a year.”

“This is an extremely complex effort proving the value of digital engineering in helping us move to the next phase with certainty,” she said. Northrop Grumman’s Sentinel headquarters, which began construction in August, 2019, is in Roy, Utah near Hill AFB. The company said that the Sentinel program will employ more than 10,000 across the United States.

Last month, BAE Systems

received a nearly $652 million fixed-price level of effort contract modification from the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Hill AFB to support the Boeing [BA] Minuteman III ICBM and Sentinel (Defense Daily, Jan. 31).

Work under the contract is “to ensure the integration of current and future hardware, software, testing and modifications” with the two ICBM systems, DoD said. Work is to be completed by Jan. 31, 2025, per the contract announcement.

Last June, the Air Force awarded BAE an up to $12 billion Integration Support Contract 2.0 (ISC 2.0) for ICBM support through 2040 (Defense Daily, June 24, 2022). BAE was the incumbent and won the approximately $534 million ISC 1.0 contract in July 2013.

At the time of the ISC 2.0 award, the Air Force said that under the cost-plus-award-fee contract, BAE would serve as the lead systems integrator and would complement government personnel in providing ICBM systems engineering, integration, and professional services.