Press Release

Northrop Grumman Celebrates Tenth Year as Prime Integrating Contractor for Nation’s Land-Based ICBM Force

By SpaceRef Editor
October 5, 2007
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Ceremony Also Marks 50 Years Since the Air Force Test-Launched First ICBM Capability

Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) today celebrated 10 years as the U.S. Air Force’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Prime Integrating Contractor, a highly successful effort led by the company to modernize and maintain the reliability, safety and security of the nation’s land-based Minuteman III weapon system.

The occasion also commemorated the Air Force’s 50th anniversary of the first successful test launch of the nation’s first ICBM — the Atlas missile. This milestone marked the first demonstration of the country’s then newest and most effective deterrent capability.

The commemoration of these two historic events was embodied in the name “50-10 Celebration.” U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, 1st Congressional District, Utah; Major General Thomas F. Deppe, vice commander, Air Force Space Command; and Major General Kathleen Close, commander, Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill Air Force Base joined Frank Moore, vice president and general manager of Missile Defense Division for Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector, and John Clay, vice president and general manger of Northrop Grumman ICBM Prime Integration Contract to highlight the historic role that Minuteman III has played in providing a continuous strategic deterrent capability and to highlight the joint Air Force-Industry partnership underpinning this accomplishment.

“The ICBM program has been critical to the strategic security of our nation, and Northrop Grumman is honored to have served the Air Force for more than 50 years on this program,” said Jerry Agee, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems. “Since the early 1950s, when the company first provided technical support to the newly-developed ICBM system, to our current role managing this massive effort, it is clear that the hard work, innovation, and dedication of the Air Force and industry team have resulted in an incredibly reliable, safe and secure system. The Air Force can be very proud of the ICBM’s continuous contributions to the nation’s security and we at Northrop Grumman are proud to be a partner in helping achieve their outstanding record of mission success.”

As the Air Force’s ICBM prime integrating contractor, Northrop Grumman manages a team of three principal teammates — Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and ATK — and more than 20 subcontractors. Over the past 10 years, the team has successfully implemented a series of upgrades — ranging in cost from less than $1 million to more than $2.4 billion — that address current issues with extending the service life of the Minuteman III system through 2030 and beyond. These efforts include replacing the propulsion system, updating the guidance system, upgrading the launch control center, updating the ground systems, and modifying the reentry vehicles in order to improve the safety and security of the entire Minuteman system.

“As a team, we have collectively managed the successful upgrade of the Minuteman weapon system and maintained the force, while establishing a solid and extremely valuable industrial base with the technical talent critical to keep these systems ready for the future,” said Clay. “We continue to meet commitments and ensure the systems integration and performance of every aspect of arguably one of the most complex weapon systems ever designed and deployed. We look forward to continued team successes in working with the Air Force to sustain the Minuteman III weapon system.”

The company’s ICBM Prime Integration Contract is headquartered in Clearfield, and employs more than 700 people, including teammate and subcontractor personnel. Northrop Grumman employs more than 1,200 employees in Clearfield and Salt Lake City combined.

“The Utah community has been absolutely key to our success,” added Clay. “The breadth and depth of talent here in Northern Utah has enabled us to establish a reputation as a leader in systems engineering and integration.”

Northrop Grumman has been involved in every U.S. ICBM program since 1954, when the Air Force tasked the newly formed Ramo-Wooldridge Corporation, which later became TRW and was acquired by Northrop Grumman in 2002, to serve as the systems engineering and technical assistance contractor. Northrop Grumman served for more than 43 years in this role as a trusted partner in designing, building and sustaining the nation’s deterrent force-from Atlas, Thor, Titan, Minuteman, and Peacekeeper through today’s Minuteman III missiles. In 1997, the Air Force selected Northrop Grumman to serve in its current role as the Prime Integrating Contractor under a 15-year contract that is currently valued at more than $6.5 billion.

Northrop Grumman is a key supporter of universities and organizations throughout Utah, including the University of Utah, Utah State, and Weber State University engineering boards; Utah Aerospace Heritage Foundation, which owns and operates the Hill Air Force Base Museum; the Utah Science Fair; Davis County school district; the Davis Arts Council; National Cancer Society; Big Brothers-Big Sisters; Pioneer Adult Rehabilitation Center; the Clearfield Family Connection Center; and the Air Force Association.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $30 billion global defense and technology company whose 120,000 employees provide innovative systems, products, and solutions in information and services, electronics, aerospace and shipbuilding to government and commercial customers worldwide.

SpaceRef staff editor.