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"New Sentinel ICBM ‘Struggling’ Due to Complexity, Kendall Says"

  • 14 Nov 2023 06:29
    Message # 13279143

    Comment:  More concern over the development of a missile with rising costs and "unknown unknowns" than a bomber development shows transparency in revealing the challenges ahead.


    Nov. 13, 2023 | By John A. Tirpak

    The LGM-35A Sentinel program to replace the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile is “struggling” due to the breadth of its scope and the fact that it has been so long since the Air Force has done a wholesale ICBM replacement—making cost estimation iffy—Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said Nov. 13.

    Speaking at the Center for a New American Security, Kendall said the Sentinel—formerly called the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent and being built by Northrop Grumman—is “quite honestly, struggling a little bit.”

    More articles about the LGM-35A Sentinel

    ____________________________________________________________ › air › 2023 › 11 › 13 › us-air-forces-sentinel-missile-struggling-faces-rising-costs

    US Air Force's Sentinel missile 'struggling,' faces rising costs

    Quote:  [Red text added for emphasis]

    By Stephen Losey                          13 Nov 2023

    Frank Kendall, speaking at an online event hosted by the Center for a New American Security think tank, said he is “more nervous” about the LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile than the B-21 Raider stealth bomber. The twin efforts to upgrade the Air Force’s legs of the nuclear triad — both of which are run by Northrop Grumman — are programs that “cannot fail,” he said.

    Kendall declined to go into detail about the problems facing Sentinel, citing his recusal from making decisions on the program. Kendall stepped back from the Sentinel and B-21 programs when he became secretary due to his previous consulting work with Northrop.

    But the vast scope of the Sentinel program — which includes real estate development; civil engineering; the creation of both communications and command-and-control infrastructure; and the production of the missile itself — has proved challenging, he said.

    “Sentinel is one of the most large, complex programs I’ve ever seen,” Kendall said. “It’s probably the biggest thing, in some ways, that the Air Force has ever taken on.”

    The Air Force awarded Northrop a $13.3 billion contract in 2020 to develop the Sentinel program — then referred to as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, or GBSD — to succeed the LGM-30G Minuteman III, which first deployed a half-century earlier. Sentinel is expected to cost roughly $100 billion in total.



    Air Force warns programs will come to ‘screeching halt’ without budget deal

    With dozens of air and space programs in funding limbo,
    Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall pleads Congress to pass a budget

    Sandra Erwin November 13, 2023

    The Department of the Air Force in its 2024 budget is seeking billions of dollars for next-generation technologies such as hypersonic weapons, a new intercontinental ballistic missile and modern satellite networks. The absence of both a budget agreement and a defense authorization bill “brings programs to a screeching halt,” said Kendall, noting that this comes at a time when the U.S. faces growing strategic competition from China and Russia.


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    Last modified: 16 Nov 2023 09:40 | Anonymous member

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