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Northrop, ATK test Minuteman III for USAF

LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM. Photo: USAF.

PROMONTORY, UTAH (BNS): Northrop Grumman and ATK successfully ground-tested a Minuteman III Stage 1 solid rocket motor for the United States Air Force (USAF) as part of the Minuteman Solid Rocket Motor Warm Line (SRMWL) programme at ATK's test facility in Utah.

This test was the second Production Quality Assurance (PQA) ground test of the SRMWL Stage 1. The first Stage 1 PQA was successfully tested on March 24, 2011, Northrop Grumman said in a release.

The SRMWL is designed to sustain critical propulsion-related skills to ensure the weapon system can be sustained.

"We prepare for and assess every ICBM test very rigorously, and the success of this Stage 1 test provides one more point of assurance of the integrity and reliability of the ICBM weapon system today and the solid rocket motor industrial base for the years to come," Tony Spehar, vice-president of Northrop Grumman's Missile Systems business unit, was quoted as saying.

The Minuteman III programme began in 1966 and currently maintains 450 missiles deployed at three missile wings.

As part of the SRMWL programme, up to ten motor sets over two years will be manufactured by ATK under contract to Northrop Grumman at ATK facilities in Utah.

The objective of the SRMWL's PQA testing is to demonstrate the motors perform as designed. Each of the three stages is tested every year.

Ground tests for Stage 2 and 3 are conducted in altitude chambers at Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tennessee and each was successfully tested this past summer, the report added.

"This successful test demonstrates that the motors produced under the warm line contract are fully representative of deployed first stage ICBM motors," Scott Lehr, ATK Aerospace Systems vice president and general manager of Strategic and Commercial Systems added.


USAF  Northrop  ATK  Minuteman  

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