Innovation Fuels ICBM Savings

The team of Northrop Grumman and Boeing made a key change to the ICBM guidance replacement program that should save the Air Force $32.9 million over five years, according to a Northrop news release. The change will also shave two hours per system inspection and two hours per system deployment over the life of the 348 Minuteman III ICBMs being refurbished. Instead of using an expensive external shield to protect guidance components from nuclear effects, the companies decided to use a rugged coating on two key components. Overall, the guidance replacement effort should give the 30-year-old Minuteman III a shelf life through 2020.