Missile maintenance airmen of the 341st Space Wing at Malmstrom AFB, Mont., have replaced all guidance systems for the wing’s 150 Minuteman III ICBMs. The Malmstrom missileers finished ahead of Air Force Space Command’s two other Minuteman wings at Minot AFB, N.D. and F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo. The maintainers replaced the NS-20 guidance system with the NS-50, under a guidance replacement program managed by the Ogden Air Logistics Center in Utah. Officials expect the other two MMIII units to complete their upgrades by early 2008. An Ogden official, noted that the NS-50 advances the state-of-the-art by some 30 years, providing increased in-flight reliability over the 1960s-vintage NS-20, while a 341st maintainer, MSgt. Eric Lang, remarked on its dependability and ease of maintenance. (USAF report by A1C Emerald Ralston)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.