One of the final two contractors for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program was in Great Falls last week to meet with the Chamber of Commerce.
Northrop Grumman Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Vice President Carol Erikson says the company has been involved in the ICBM system since the very beginning.
"We have been leading the sustainment and maintenance of the ICBM contract and today we are the lead of the largest ground subsystem sustainment contract,” Erikson said.
They are currently in the first phase of the ground based strategic deterrent program.
"It is all about preforming trade for the air force and developing the initial design. We are looking to find the right balance between preference, cost, and risk,” Erikson said.
The air force has told the contractors that they would like the next generation of the ICBM system to operate for 50 years, or until about 2075.
Northrop Grumman is working on a design that will replace everything from command and control to the missile itself.
"We are here to interact with local leadership. To really understand the unique challenges and opportunities of fielding the next generation of the ICBM system,” Erikson said.
The plan is to start putting the new system into place in 2028, so Northrop Grumman is looking at potential local contractors.
They are also looking at the work base and the infrastructure needs that will take to put the news GBSD in place.
"We are in the very early planning stages. We know that it will a have very long and sustainable impact on the community but it is a little early to say exactly what that impact will be,” Erikson said.
It will be three years before the Air Force awards the contract to either Northrop Grumman or Boeing.