Boeing will help develop new nuclear missiles in Huntsville

(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Boeing will develop a preliminary design for a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), with some of the work being done right here in Huntsville, according to a news release Monday.

Boeing confirms it won a $349 million contract with the U.S. Air Force to work on the system. Northrop Grumman, which also has a Huntsville presence, was awarded a $328 million contract for the same task.

The contracts are for developing the next generation of nuclear deterrence for the United States, called the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) program.

Boeing confirms some of the contract work will be done in Huntsville, Northrop Grumman has not yet specified where their work will be done, though a release from the Department of Defense says at least part of the work will be done in Redondo Beach, California.

Both companies will work on a replacement for the Minuteman III ICBM. The Air Force will choose one of them to develop the new land-based part of America’s nuclear triad in 2020.

The other parts of the triad missiles deployed by submarine and aircraft.

The Minuteman III ICBM is decades old, having been first deployed in 1970.

Along with Huntsville, Boeing’s latest work will be done in Utah, Ohio, and other locations.

The missile replacement includes flight, command and control, and launch systems.

Governor Kay Ivey released the following statement on the decision:

“I am proud that the U.S. Air Force has chosen Boeing to develop our nation’s next intercontinental ballistic missile and that Boeing plans to complete some of that project here in Alabama. This announcement is a testament to the fantastic work that Boeing does and serves to strengthen the bond between that great company and this great state. Boeing’s continued growth and success, is a sign that Huntsville, and all of Alabama, is on the forefront of aerospace innovation and in protecting our nation.”

The companies also weighed in on the contracts. Boeing released the following:

“Since the first Minuteman launch in 1961, the U.S. Air Force has relied on our technologies for a safe, secure and reliable ICBM force,” said Frank McCall, Boeing director of Strategic Deterrence Systems and GBSD program manager. “As the Air Force prepares to replace the Minuteman III, we will once again answer the call by drawing on the best of Boeing to deliver the capability, flexibility and affordability the mission requires.”

And Northrop Grumman included this statement:

“We look forward to the opportunity to provide the nation with a modern strategic deterrent system that is secure, resilient and affordable,” said Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman. “As a trusted partner and technical integrator for the Air Force’s ICBM systems for more than 60 years, we are proud to continue our work to protect and defend our nation through its strategic deterrent capabilities.”