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Northrop Grumman selects subcontractors for new ICBM missile system

After declining to partner with Boeing on the new Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, the company named its partners ahead of getting to work on developing the system.

By Ed Adamczyk
Northrop Grumman selects subcontractors for new ICBM missile system
Pictured, an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test on April 26, 2017, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. File Photo by Ian Dudley/U.S. Air Force/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman Corp. announced its subcontractors for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent missiles system on Monday, after declining to partner with Boeing Co. on the project.

Northrop on Monday named Aerojet Rocketdyne, BRPH, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, Honeywell, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Parsons and Textron Systems, "along with hundreds of other small, medium and large businesses across the United States," as subcontractors for the project.

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The company last month also broke ground on a new facility near Hill Air Force Base in Utah that will be the headquarters for the program, and it expects more than 10,000 people across the U.S. to work on the project at some point during its development.

The Ground Based Strategic Deterrent is a land-based intercontinental ballistic missile system designed to replace all 450 Minuteman III missiles of the U.S. Air Force, with phase-in beginning in 2027. The new missiles are estimated to cost around $85 billion over a 50-year life cycle.

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"Northrop Grumman has assembled a nationwide team of partners from across the defense, construction and engineering industries -- rich in ICBM missile systems expertise," Greg Manuel, vice president and GBSD enterprise leader for Northrop Grumman, said in a press release. "We are confident this GBSD team we have so carefully assembled over the past four years is positioned to deliver a safe, reliable and affordable GBSD system on schedule."

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Boeing and Northrop were competitors for the program, entering contracts to develop preliminary designs for the system.

Boeing dropped out of the process in July, citing Northrop's acquisition of Orbital ATK -- one of the biggest makers of solid rocket motors in the U.S. -- as giving it an advantage that left Boeing unable to price its own rocket motors competitively.

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"We lack confidence in the fairness of any procurement that does not correct this basic imbalance between competitors," Leanne Caret, CEO of Boeing's Defense, Space and Security division, said in a letter to the Air Force.

An offer by Boeing to partner with Northrop was rejected over the weekend.

Although the Air Force will wait until 2020 to select a developer, Northrop remains the only competitor. In 2017, Lockheed Martin was eliminated as a bidder, leaving only Boeing and Northrop at the time.

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