Aerojet To Develop ICBM Stage for U.S. Air Force

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Aerojet Rocketdyne of Sacramento, Calif., will develop a possible replacement motor for the third stage of the Minuteman 3 ICBM under the Air Force’s Nuclear Weapons Center Propulsion Applications Program, the company announced Dec. 2.

The contract, financial terms of which were not disclosed by the company, includes development, fabrication and testing of a full-scale prototype motor, Aerojet Rocketdyne said. A full-scale static test through thrust termination is planned, the press release said.

“This is an important win for Aerojet Rocketdyne,” Michael Bright, the company’s vice president of missile defense and strategic systems, said in a prepared statement. “It helps maintain critical industrial base capability in solid rocket motor design and development, and provides a cost competitive strategy to sustain the aging Minuteman 3 missile.”

Work on the new motor, featuring domestic components and composite casing, will be performed at Aerojet locations in Sacramento, Clearfield, Utah, and Gainesville, Va. Aerojet Rocketdyne said its development and manufacturing approach could be applicable to other missions including missile defense target vehicles.