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Northrop Grumman Corp.’s facilities in Box Elder County will be playing a major role in a multibillion-dollar effort to modernize an aging U.S. missile defense system.

The company announced last week that it has been awarded a $13.3 billion contract with the U.S. Air Force for the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent Program, part of the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile system.

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center announced that the effort will span 8.5 years and include weapon system design, qualification, test and evaluation and nuclear certification. Upon successful completion of EMD, the Northrop Grumman team will begin producing and delivering a modern and fully integrated weapon system to meet the Air Force schedule of initial operational capability by 2029.

“Our nation is facing a rapidly evolving threat environment and protecting our citizens with a modern strategic deterrent capability has never been more critical,” said Kathy Warden, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Northrop Grumman, in a Sept. 8 press release. “With more than 65 years of technical leadership on every ICBM system, our nationwide team is honored and committed to continuing our partnership with the U.S. Air Force to deliver a safe, secure and effective system that will contribute to global stability for years to come.”

The first Northrop Grumman facilities mentioned in the press release are the company’s Utah locations in Roy and Promontory. Company facilities in Alabama, Colorado, Nebraska, California, Arizona and Maryland will also be involved, along with “our nationwide team locations across the country.”

Other companies signed up to work on the GBSD program include Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bechtel, Clark Construction, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, HDT Global, Honeywell, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, L3Harris, Lockheed Martin, Textron Systems, as well as hundreds of small and medium-sized companies from across the defense, engineering and construction industries.

Overall, the GBSD program will involve over 10,000 people across the U.S.

The contract award follows a three-year technology maturation and risk reduction effort under the GBSD competition.

“The Northrop Grumman team has demonstrated innovation and agility by applying a digital engineering approach and has achieved all TMRR design review milestones on time and on cost,” the press release states.

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