Six Republican senators, including Deb Fischer (Neb.), the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s (SASC) strategic forces panel, have introduced a bill to authorize multi-year procurement (MYP) authority for the future Northrop Grumman [NOC] LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on June 15 introduced S. 2017, co-sponsored by Fischer and GOP Sens. Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Mike Lee (Utah), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Pete Ricketts (Neb.), and Steve Daines (Mont.). The bill is before SASC.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown suggested this month that the Air Force’s fiscal 2024 request for MYPs for the Lockheed Martin [LMT] AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile (JASSM) and Long Range Anti-Ship Missile (LRASM) and the Raytheon Technologies‘ [RTX] AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) will lead to future MYPs for other munitions (Defense Daily, June 7).

“We’ve got to look at multi-year procurements,” Brown said. “It helps give a predictable demand signal to industry, and it’s not just the primes. It’s all the subs below them so they actually have supply chains laid in…It helps us be able to surge when we need to.”

Brown also said that Sentinel looks to be on track for planned flight testing this year.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall told the House Armed Services Committee in April that it will be a challenge for Sentinel to reach initial operational capability (IOC) on time (Defense Daily, Apr. 27).

DoD has targeted Sentinel IOC for May 2029. Kendall is not permitted to make decisions on Sentinel because of his previous consulting work for Northrop Grumman.

A Defense Department report sent to Congress in September indicated a possible 10-month delay in the estimated $95.8 billion Sentinel development effort.

Last month, Robert Moriarty, the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for installations, gave the go-ahead for Sentinel’s support construction phase (Defense Daily, May 31).

The Department of the Air Force’s 450 Minuteman III silos–launch facilities –and 45 missile alert facilities (MAFs) “would be updated extensively to completely refurbished condition to meet the requirements of the Sentinel system,” according to a May 19th final Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision signed by Moriarty. “Sentinel system deployment and MMIII [Minuteman III] disposal activities are scheduled to sequentially begin in late 2023, starting at Main Operating Base (MOB)-1, F.E. Warren AFB, [Wyo.], then at MOB-2, Malmstrom AFB, [Mont.], and finally at MOB-3, Minot AFB, [N.D.].”

Building of the installation command center and the material handling complex at F.E. Warren is to begin this year, while construction is to start at Malmstrom in 2026 and Minot in 2029. The Air Force’s Record of Decision said that F.E. Warren is to be the first MOB as the base “has the best local industrial capacity because of its proximity to Denver, the ICBM Program Office and depot at Hill AFB, two major interstate highways, a railway hub, and a major airport that would be used for movement of supplies, equipment, and personnel.”