MX Missiles Deactivated, Minutemen at the Ready (updated)
As a result of weapons reduction treaties, the Minuteman III missile is now the USA’s only remaining land-launched nuclear missile. The last MX “Peacekeeper” missile was deactivated yesterday (Sept. 19, 2005). Deactivation began in October 2002 after President Bush set a plan in motion in 2001 to reduce the USA’s missile forces from 6,000 to between 1,700 and 2,200. Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to follow a similar plan.
The MX Peacekeeper was the most powerful, accurate missile the USA has ever deployed, capable of carrying up to 10 independently targeted nuclear warheads to any point in the world with unparalleled accuracy. In order to keep its older Minuteman III force effective, however, the USA has undertaken a number of projects to maintain and modernize that force.
Northrop Grumman Space and Mission Systems in Clearfield, UT received a $122.7 million cost plus award fee contract modification to exercise option VIII for the prime integrated contract to support the Minuteman inter-continental ballistic missile.
Work on the contract will be complete by September 2006. The Headquarters 526th ICBM Systems Wing at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (F42610-98-C-0001).
Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Co. in King of Prussia, PA received a $9.9 million cost-plus incentive-fee contract modification in support of the effort to insert the Mk21 Re-entry Vehicle and its nuclear warhead from the MX Peacekeeper missile into the Minuteman III, replacing its three Mk12RVs with a single Mk21 warhead. Lockheed will provide the needed coverage on hardware problems that may take place out at the missile bases. Solicitations began May 2005, negotiations were completed September 2005, and work will be complete by October 2007. The Headquarters Ogden Air Logistics Center at Hill Air Force Base, UT issued the contract (FA8204-05-C-0005/P00002). Lockheed also has the overall payload modification contract.