Air Force Releases GBSD Solicitation

The Air Force released a request for proposals for the Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent program’s first phase Friday. Proposals for the technology maturation and risk reduction phase of the GBSD program—the replacement for the service’s aging Minuteman III weapons system—will be accepted until October 12, 2016, according to the notice. The government intends to award up to two cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts next summer. The new system is expected to be be deployed in the late 2020s, according to a service statement, and last through 2075. The GBSD program will be run out of Air Force Materiel Command’s Nuclear Weapons Center, specifically the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles Directorate at Hill AFB, Utah, and the expected dollar value of the program is $62.3 billion. Defense officials have called for modernizing the nuclear triad, and said the service’s fleet of 450 Minuteman III ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles will have difficulty surviving advanced enemy defenses of the future?. In April, Pentagon acquisition chief Frank Kendall told lawmakers the GBSD program was on track, but said the RFP was only “a couple weeks away.” He said the Pentagon will work to cut costs during the first phase in anticipation of having to fund the nuclear triad upgrade, which is expected to cost $1 trillion. “It’s going to be an expensive system by any metric,” Kendall said, referring to the GBSD program. (See also: Ground-Based Question Mark from the July issue of Air Force Magazine.)