Boeing emphasizes affordability, modularity in new ICBM design

Review with US Air Force confirms baseline requirements for ground-based nuclear deterrent

November 30, 2017 Photo(s): By Boeing
In Heath, Ohio, Boeing engineers are developing the missile guidance system for the GBSD, applying mechanical and electrical engineering expertise to write codes for circuitry, redesign hardware for a computer chip, modify parts and integrate tooling.

Boeing's Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program successfully completed its first key review with the US Air Force, validating program technical requirements prior to the design and development phase of America's next intercontinental ballistic missile system.

The November review established the baseline for the GBSD, which will replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and continue the nuclear deterrence mission for generations to come.

Boeing completed the System Requirements Review about two months after being awarded $349 million to mature the GBSD system design under a Technology Maturation and Risk Reduction contract.

"The Air Force set clear system design requirements early in the acquisition process," said Frank McCall, Boeing director of Strategic Deterrence Systems and GBSD program manager. "Thanks to this straightforward guidance, the Boeing team was able to focus on options that would meet those requirements and provide the capability needed to deter an evolving threat."

"We concentrated on modularity and affordability to enable efficient government ownership of the system through 2075 and beyond," McCall added.

Boeing's design addresses the replacement of the entire ICBM system, including new flight systems, weapon system command and control (WSC2), and launch systems within existing Minuteman silos.

Now that the requirements baseline has been set, Boeing will move through a series of cost-capability studies, weighing affordability against configuration options to come up with a GBSD solution that is capable, flexible and affordable.

Boeing will present its Preliminary Design Review to the Air Force in 2020.