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Sentinel ICBM Program to Roll Forward Even as Cost Soars to $140B

Nuclear triad component

Sentinel ICBM Program to Roll Forward Even as Cost Soars to $140B

The Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile program, which will replace the Minuteman III ICBMs, is set to advance after it passed a Department of Defense statutory review prompted by a cost overrun of more than 25 percent above baseline projections.

 William LaPlante, DOD undersecretary for acquisitions and a 2024 Wash100 awardee and speaker in a past Potomac Officers Club event, endorsed the program to continue, saying the Pentagon weighed the costs against the risks of skipping U.S. nuclear forces modernization and the “very real threats” that the country confronts, SpaceNews reported Monday.

DOD officials maintain that the takeover of the Sentinel system on the Minuteman III missiles is crucial to uphold the U.S. nuclear triad’s land-based capability, 

According to a statement from the U.S. Air Force, which earlier notified Congress of the Sentinel project’s 25 percent breach under the Nunn-McCurdy statute, the Sentinel program has no alternatives with “acceptable capability to meet the joint requirements at less cost.”

The service branch also described as “reasonable” the new program assessment of $140.9 billion, an increase of 81 percent from the estimates presented in Sentinel’s September 2020 milestone.

The program, which has Northrop Grumman as the prime contractor, faces several years of delay because of the increased cost, with Sentinel’s initial operation expected in the early 2030s.

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Category: Speaker News