ICBM guidance team receives sky-high marks from the Air Force

November 16, 2020 in Defense

Infrared photos show a Minuteman III ICBM blasting off during a recent test launch. The routine exercises serve as a reminder of the continued readiness of the land-based strategic deterrent and opportunities to verify the continued effectiveness and accuracy of its guidance systems.

U.S. Space Force

The U.S. Air Force’s Minuteman III Systems Directorate has given the Boeing team that maintains the guidance systems for the intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, a performance rating of 99.09% for its “innovative” and “excellent” sustainment engineering performance.

Between February and August of this year, the team achieved “100% first-time quality” and zero rework, supported the development of new digital sustainment tools, updated critical drawings and test components, streamlined the system’s effectiveness report, developed a customer training video to enhance operations, and submitted more than 150 contractual deliverables on or ahead of schedule.

“Everyone on our team — from our representatives at the missile wings, performance assessment engineers and inertial instrument working groups to our flight-test support and post-flight accuracy experts — is committed to going above and beyond for our customer,” said Andy Beck, program manager on the Minuteman III ICBM Guidance Subsystems Support Contract. “We maintain a high level of coordination with the Air Force to ensure both consistency of performance and continued confidence in the guidance system.”

The current Boeing-developed guidance system has logged more than 40 million hours of continuous operation. Boeing has exclusively maintained the guidance systems for the nation’s Minuteman III ICBM fleet since 1996, and remains the sole provider of guidance repair services through 2021.

"I couldn’t be more proud of our team for its accomplishments despite working through new challenges presented by COVID-19,” Beck said. “We’re honored to be recognized by the Air Force and remain focused on supporting the mission.”

The performance rating comes on the heels of Boeing’s Little Mountain Test Facility team receiving back-to-back perfect performance ratings from the Air Force earlier this year.