Boeing has delivered the first upgraded intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) cryptography units to the U.S. Air Force – advancing the modernization of a key ground subsystem for the nation’s ICBM defense force.
The upgrade will enhance launch code encryption, improve physical site security by eliminating the need to routinely open them up through remote launch code changes, and deliver enormous time savings for Airmen currently traveling to perform in-person code changes at the approximately 400 missiles on alert across the Midwest.
“Currently, these routine code changes require a team to travel to each launch facility and each change can take upwards of seven days to complete,” said Ted Kerzie, director of Boeing’s Strategic Deterrence Systems. “This upgrade eliminates the need for travel and reduces the amount of staff, resources and time needed down to just a few hours.”
The upgraded cryptography hardware is being designed and produced at a number of Boeing locations – including Ogden, Utah; Heath, Ohio; Huntsville, Alabama; and Huntington Beach, California – and will continue to be delivered to the Air Force for installation at the launch facilities through 2023.
“We designed and helped build the silos and launch facilities that were installed 60 years ago, so we’re uniquely positioned to perform this work,” said Kerzie. “We’re excited to deliver these security enhancements and time savings to the Air Force to help keep our ICBMs mission-ready into the mid-2030s.”
The Boeing-built ICBM weapon system has served as the nation’s enduring ground-based leg of the nuclear triad since the inception of strategic deterrence. Boeing is committed to delivering quality, proven and ready deterrence capabilities today while innovating modernized future capabilities to meet emerging threats of tomorrow.