Press Release

Northrop Grumman Awarded Air Force Contract to Support Target and Space-Launch Missile Work

By SpaceRef Editor
January 11, 2006
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Northrop Grumman Corporation has been awarded a follow-on contract to provide technical support to the U.S. Air Force’s Rocket Systems Launch Program (RSLP).

The indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract has a potential value of approximately $100 million over five years to Northrop Grumman Mission Systems.

RSLP provides the U.S. Department of Defense with the target missiles and space-launch vehicles necessary to support a wide range of test programs associated with government laboratories, missile defense and other major Defense Department development programs.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems will be responsible for providing technical mission assurance/independent validation and verification services, and for ensuring the reliability of excess Minuteman II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) motors, used in these test programs, through a comprehensive aging surveillance program.

“We are pleased to be selected by the U.S. Air Force for this important mission that will ensure the effectiveness of our developmental and operational weapon systems, while also supporting the launch of payloads into space,” said Frank Moore, vice president and general manager for Northrop Grumman Mission Systems’ Missile Defense division. “Northrop Grumman will continue building on its 25-year performance record with the RSLP program, providing technical support for the new air-launched target systems, while continuing to support the current target and space-launch systems that have been so successful over the years.”

The award was made by the Air Force Space & Missile Systems Center’s RSLP Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. A Northrop Grumman subcontractor team has been added to expand the breadth and depth of technical support. These subcontractors include a.i. solutions, Lanham, Md.; Barrios Technologies, Houston, Tx.; Cirrus, Huntsville, Ala.; Miltec, Huntsville, Ala.; SRS, Newport Beach, Calif.

Work on this contract will primarily be performed by Northrop Grumman in Albuquerque; San Bernardino, Calif; Clearfield, Utah; and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

The Air Force RSLP and Northrop Grumman have supported 39 consecutive successful target and space launches since 1996 for the nation’s Missile Defense Agency and other Defense Department agencies, and provided the rocket motors for each mission. Together with the Air Force, Northrop Grumman provided key engineering support to ensure each motor and all components of missiles were properly refurbished, tested and ready for flight. Despite their age, more than 156 motors have been used without a failure in the past nine years to support a wide range of launch systems and mission applications.

Northrop Grumman has also provided a variety of engineering services to the RSLP’s missile defense program. For example, Northrop Grumman developed a technical solution that lowered the costs associated with launching targets from the air (via a C-17 aircraft). This solution offers the government greater flexibility in their interceptor testing program because they are not confined to launching targets from the limited number of fixed ground sites currently available.

Northrop Grumman also supported the Air Force in 2005 when it used converted retired Minuteman II ICBMs to launch the Experimental Satellite System-11 and Space Test Program R-1 missions. These missions continued the use of refurbished Minuteman II ICBMs to place research and development payloads into space.

In addition to ensuring the viability of excess Minuteman II motors for this important test program, Northrop Grumman Mission Systems is the Air Force’s ICBM prime integration contractor supporting its customer in maintaining alert readiness of the United States’ current ICBM Minuteman III weapon system. Northrop Grumman and its teammates and subcontractors provide program management, system engineering, integration, domain expertise, subsystem expertise and other necessary ICBM industrial capabilities. The 15-year prime contract was awarded in December 1997 and is currently valued at $4.5 billion with a total projected value of more than $6 billion. Northrop Grumman manages a team consisting of three principal teammates and more than 20 subcontractors.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va., is a global integrator of complex, mission-enabling systems and services for defense, intelligence and civil government markets. The sector’s technology leadership and expertise spans areas such as strategic systems, including ICBMs; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; command and control; technical services; and training.

SpaceRef staff editor.