The U.S. Air Force has officially designated its new weapon system, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, as the “LGM-35A Sentinel.”
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall approved the designation for the system that modernizes the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) leg of the Nation’s nuclear triad.
The Air Force determined the LGM-35A Sentinel would provide continuity in strategic deterrence and cost less than extending the life of the current ICBM fleet, comprised of the aging Minuteman III, fielded in the 1970s.
The Air Force says the new system will incorporate low risk, technically mature components, feature a modular architecture that can easily incorporate emerging technology to adapt in rapidly evolving threat environments, and will be easier to maintain than the Minuteman system – all of which will enable cost-savings and ensure relevancy as the Sentinel operates well into the 2070s. The Sentinel will not just be a new missile but a fully integrated launch, flight and infrastructure system with modern command and control features.
Existing missile bases, F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming, Malmstrom AFB, Montana, and Minot AFB, North Dakota, will be home to the new system. Using infrastructure at current locations will allow both the Minuteman III and Sentinel weapons systems to continue meeting all nuclear surety and safety standards during the transition period.