Tag Archives: Boeing

Flight testing

The KC-46 Pegasus program achieved an important milestone July 6, 2018, at Boeing Field, Seattle, with completion of the final flight tests required for first aircraft delivery planned in late October.

A KC-46A Pegasus tanker takes off from Boeing Field, Seattle, June 4, 2018. The KC-46 Pegasus program achieved an important milestone July 6, with completion of the final flight tests required for first aircraft delivery to the U.S. Air Force (Courtesy photo)
A KC-46A Pegasus tanker takes off from Boeing Field, Seattle, June 4, 2018. The KC-46 Pegasus program achieved an important milestone July 6, with completion of the final flight tests required for first aircraft delivery to the U.S. Air Force (Courtesy photo)

The integrated Air Force and Boeing test team completed all required test points for the Remote Vision System and for receiver certifications of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and C-17 Globemaster III. These two receivers, coupled with testing completed in June of KC-135 Stratotanker refueling the KC-46 Pegasus as a receiver, are the minimum required for delivery.

«With this milestone complete, the test program has demonstrated a level of maturity that positions Boeing to deliver, and the Air Force to accept, an aircraft by the end of October 2018», said Doctor Will Roper, the Air Force service acquisition executive.

The KC-46 Pegasus test program is now transitioning to follow-on receiver aircraft testing and certifications required for operational testing starting in 2019.

On June 4, 2018, Chief of Staff of the Air Force General David L. Goldfein met with the men and women testing the KC-46 Pegasus at Boeing Field to witness their hard work firsthand. While flying on a scheduled KC-46 Pegasus test mission, Goldfein flew the aircraft and its boom in between test points and observed C-17 Globemaster III receiver aircraft certification testing.

«It was a pleasure to fly the KC-46 Pegasus, an aircraft that will enhance our lethality and global warfighting capabilities», Goldfein said. After the recent test point completion, he added, «I am encouraged by the team’s progress in putting another significant milestone behind us. The collective Air Force, Boeing, Federal Aviation Administration, and Defense Contract Management Agency team is laser-focused on the remainder of activities needed to certify and accept this much-needed tanker in late October. I am excited for our Air Force as we move closer to having this aircraft in the hands of our warfighters who will unleash its demonstrated capabilities in support of the Joint fight».

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs./275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs./188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs./140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs./96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs./94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs./29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

$4 billion contract

Bell Boeing Joint Program Office, Amarillo, Texas, is awarded $4,191,533,822 for modification P00008 to convert the previously awarded V-22 tiltrotor aircraft advance acquisition contract (N00019-17-C-0015) to a fixed-price-incentive-fee multiyear contract. This contract provides for the manufacture and delivery of 39 CMV-22B aircraft for the U.S. Navy; 14 MV-22B aircraft for the U.S. Marine Corps; one CV-22B for the U.S. Air Force; and four MV-22B aircraft for the government of Japan.

The U.S. Navy will use its new CMV-22B for transporting personnel and cargo from shore to aircraft carriers, eventually replacing the C-2 Greyhound, which has been in service since the mid-1960s (Boeing image)
The U.S. Navy will use its new CMV-22B for transporting personnel and cargo from shore to aircraft carriers, eventually replacing the C-2 Greyhound, which has been in service since the mid-1960s (Boeing image)

«Bell Boeing is pleased to extend production of the V-22, supporting our warfighters with one of the most versatile and in-demand platforms in the U.S. arsenal», said Chris Gehler, Bell Vice President for the V-22 Program. «This multiyear production contract provides program production stability through at least 2024».

The U.S. Navy will use its new CMV-22B for transporting personnel and cargo from shore to aircraft carriers, eventually replacing the C-2 Greyhound, which has been in service since the mid-1960s.

«By combining aircraft for three services and a key U.S. Ally into one multiyear order, the U.S. Navy gets more capability for its procurement dollar», said Kristin Houston, Vice President, Boeing Tiltrotor Programs and Director, Bell Boeing V-22 Program. «It also enables the U.S. Navy to begin advancing its carrier onboard delivery fleet with modern tiltrotor aircraft. It’s a true win-win».

 

CMV-22B Specifications

Primary Function Airborne Re-supply/Logistics to the Seabase (AR/LSB)
Contractor Bell-Boeing
Propulsion Two Rolls-Royce Liberty AE1107C engines, each delivering 6,150 shaft horsepower/4,586 kW
Length 63 feet/19.2 m
Wingspan 84.6 feet/25.8 m with rotors turning
Height 22 feet, 1 inch/6.73 m with nacelles vertical
Weight Maximum gross, vertical take-off: 52,600 lbs./23,859 kg; Short take-off; 57,000 lbs./25,855 kg (testing in progress to increase)
Airspeed Cruise: 269 knots/310 mph/498 km/h
Ceiling 25,000 feet/7,620 m
Range 1,165 NM/1340 miles/2,158 km
Crew 4 – pilot, copilot, crew chief, second aircrewman; 23 passengers

 

Certification Testing

Boeing recently achieved a major certification milestone following a successful refueling flight between two KC-46 Pegasus tankers. The company’s tanker program has now completed its required Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) fuel on-load testing.

A Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker refuels a second KC-46 Pegasus, transferring 146,000 pounds/65,700 liters of fuel as part of its «on-load» certification testing. The KC-46’s refueling boom allows it to transfer up to 1,200 gallons/4,542 liters of fuel per minute
A Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker refuels a second KC-46 Pegasus, transferring 146,000 pounds/65,700 liters of fuel as part of its «on-load» certification testing. The KC-46’s refueling boom allows it to transfer up to 1,200 gallons/4,542 liters of fuel per minute

During the three-hour, forty-eight-minute flight, a KC-46 Pegasus successfully transferred 146,000 pounds/65,700 liters of fuel to a second KC-46 Pegasus, while achieving the maximum fuel off-load rate of 1,200 gallons/4,542 liters per minute. Both aircraft took off and landed at Boeing Field, south of Seattle.

For its Federal Aviation Administration STC testing, the KC-46 Pegasus demonstrated the ability to safely/effectively receive fuel from three other tankers – KC-46 Pegasus, KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-10 Extender aircraft. As part of the series of tests, KC-46 Pegasus tankers took on 540,600 pounds/243,270 liters of fuel and completed 68 contacts with refueling aircraft.

When in service, the KC-46 Pegasus will refuel U.S., allied and coalition military aircraft using its boom and hose and drogue systems, but also must be able to take on fuel to extend its operational range. The boom allows the tanker to transfer up to 1,200 gallons/4,542 liters of fuel per minute, while the hose and drogue systems, located on both the plane’s wing and centerline, enables the KC-46 Pegasus to refuel smaller aircraft with up to 400 gallons/1,514 liters of fuel per minute.

A combined Boeing/U.S. Air Force team is currently working to complete the overall STC testing, which encompasses the military systems that are installed on the commercial 767-2C to make it a tanker. To date, the program’s test aircraft have completed 2,700 flight hours and more than 2,500 contacts during refueling flights with F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Hornet, AV-8B Harrier II, C-17 Globemaster III, A-10 Thunderbolt II, KC-10 Extender and KC-46 Pegasus aircraft.

Two Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tankers «connect» during Supplemental Type Certificate on-load testing. During the flight, which completed the required STC testing, the KC-46 Pegasus demonstrated it can safely take on fuel from another tanker. When in service the KC-46 Pegasus will refuel US, allied and coalition military aircraft using its boom and hose and drogue systems
Two Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tankers «connect» during Supplemental Type Certificate on-load testing. During the flight, which completed the required STC testing, the KC-46 Pegasus demonstrated it can safely take on fuel from another tanker. When in service the KC-46 Pegasus will refuel US, allied and coalition military aircraft using its boom and hose and drogue systems

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs/188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs/140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs/96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs/94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs/29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Multi-copter UAV

On January 10, 2018, Boeing unveiled a new unmanned electric Vertical-TakeOff-and-Landing (eVTOL) Cargo Air Vehicle (CAV) prototype that will be used to test and evolve Boeing’s autonomy technology for future aerospace vehicles. It is designed to transport a payload up to 500 pounds for possible future cargo and logistics applications.

The electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing multi-copter UAV is designed to carry up to 500 pounds
The electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing multi-copter UAV is designed to carry up to 500 pounds

«This flying cargo air vehicle represents another major step in our Boeing eVTOL strategy», said Boeing Chief Technology Officer Greg Hyslop. «We have an opportunity to really change air travel and transport, and we’ll look back on this day as a major step in that journey».

In less than three months, a team of engineers and technicians across the company designed and built the CAV prototype. It successfully completed initial flight tests at Boeing Research & Technology’s Collaborative Autonomous Systems Laboratory in Missouri.

Boeing researchers will use the prototype as a flying test bed to mature the building blocks of autonomous technology for future applications. Boeing HorizonX, with its partners in Boeing Research & Technology, led the development of the CAV prototype, which complements the eVTOL passenger air vehicle prototype aircraft in development by Aurora Flight Sciences, a company acquired by Boeing late last year.

«Our new CAV prototype builds on Boeing’s existing unmanned systems capabilities and presents new possibilities for autonomous cargo delivery, logistics and other transportation applications», said Steve Nordlund, Boeing HorizonX vice president. «The safe integration of unmanned aerial systems is vital to unlocking their full potential. Boeing has an unmatched track record, regulatory know-how and systematic approach to deliver solutions that will shape the future of autonomous flight».

Powered by an environmentally-friendly electric propulsion system, the CAV prototype is outfitted with eight counter rotating blades allowing for vertical flight. It measures 15 feet long (4.57 meters), 18 feet wide (5.49 meters) and 4 feet tall (1.22 meters), and weighs 747 pounds (339 kilograms).

Chicago-based Boeing is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries.

Japan Tanker

Through the Foreign Military Sale process, the U.S. Air Force has awarded Boeing a $279 million contract for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) first KC-46 tanker and logistics support, marking the aircraft’s first international sale.

Boeing’s KC-46A tanker takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, where the aircraft are built. Japan is the first international customer for the multi-role tanker that will bring unmatched capabilities and reliability upon delivery (Photo by Gail Hanusa)
Boeing’s KC-46A tanker takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, where the aircraft are built. Japan is the first international customer for the multi-role tanker that will bring unmatched capabilities and reliability upon delivery (Photo by Gail Hanusa)

Japan chose Boeing’s KC-46 tanker over competitors following its KC-X aerial refueling competition. The KC-46 adds to the JASDF’s current fleet of four KC-767J tankers.

«We are excited to partner with Boeing as we assist Japan in advancing its aerial refueling capabilities», said Brigadier General Donna Shipton, program executive officer, U.S. Air Force Tanker Directorate. «This is an important step in strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and will enhance our interoperability with both nations flying KC-46s».

The U.S. Air Force will operate and maintain its fleet of 179 KC-46 tankers through mid-century and beyond.

«This milestone order highlights a valued partnership with Japan that spans more than six decades, and we look forward to continuing that collaboration on the KC-46 program», added Brett Gerry, president, Boeing Japan. «The skilled Japanese KC-767 tanker and E-767 Airborne Warning and Control Systems pilots and maintenance personnel are already familiar with flying and supporting our highly efficient aircraft, and we look forward to helping them expand their capabilities in the future».

The KC-46 is a multirole tanker designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.

Boeing began developing the KC-46A Pegasus tanker for the U.S. Air Force in 2011 and is assembling the 767-derivative aircraft at its Everett, Wash., facility.

First flight of the fully-provisioned KC-46 tanker took place in September 2015. Six test aircraft have now completed more than 2,200 flight hours and conducted refueling flights with F-16, F/A-18, AV-8B, C-17, A-10, KC-10 and KC-46 aircraft.

In addition to refueling, the KC-46 features a main deck cargo door and strengthened cargo deck. The floor includes seat tracks and a cargo handling system, allowing for a variety of mission configurations. The system enables KC-46 to simultaneously carry palletized cargo, personnel and aeromedical equipment in a variety of combinations. The highly reliable 767 derivative will also deliver tremendous savings through lower lifecycle costs compared to other larger or used aircraft.

Sixteen percent of the 767 airplane, on which the KC-46 tanker is based, is made with Japan. The Boeing-Japan relationship grows and expands with partnership opportunities in the space, commercial and defense businesses, continuing a legacy that spans more than 60 years. Boeing currently spends more than $5 billion annually in Japan, making the country the largest supply base for Boeing outside the United States. Boeing opened its first office in Japan in 1953 and now has approximately 200 employees at more than 20 major sites across the country.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs/188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs/140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs/96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs/94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs/29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Stingray

Boeing for the first time is showing what it believes is the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) best suited for refueling U.S. Navy jets operating from aircraft carriers.

Boeing’s MQ-25 Unmanned Aircraft System is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations next year. The aircraft is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters (Boeing photo by Eric Shindelbower)
Boeing’s MQ-25 Unmanned Aircraft System is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations next year. The aircraft is designed to provide the U.S. Navy with refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters (Boeing photo by Eric Shindelbower)

Through its MQ-25 competition, the U.S. Navy is seeking unmanned refueling capabilities that would extend the combat range of deployed Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet, Boeing EA-18G Growler, and Lockheed Martin F-35C fighters. The MQ-25 will also have to seamlessly integrate with a carrier’s catapult and launch and recovery systems.

«Boeing has been delivering carrier aircraft to the Navy for almost 90 years», said Don ‘BD’ Gaddis, a retired admiral who leads the refueling system program for Boeing’s Phantom Works technology organization. «Our expertise gives us confidence in our approach. We will be ready for flight testing when the engineering and manufacturing development contract is awarded».

The UAS is completing engine runs before heading to the flight ramp for deck handling demonstrations early next year.

The U.S. Navy issued its final request for proposals in October. Proposals are due January 3.

Laser on UAV

The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, California is being awarded an $8,966,976 competitive, cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the Low Power Laser Demonstrator (LPLD) Phase 1 effort. No options are contemplated.

Boeing to Demonstrate Low-Power Laser on UAV
Boeing to Demonstrate Low-Power Laser on UAV

Under this new contract, the contractor will perform the next step for the LPLD effort that addresses laser power and aperture size by integrating and testing a low power laser on an unmanned aerial vehicle.

The work will be performed in Huntington Beach, California; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, with an estimated completion date of September 3, 2018.

The period of performance is nine months from December 6, 2017, through September 3, 2018. This contract was competitively procured via publication on the Federal Business Opportunities website through an Advanced Technology Innovation Broad Agency Announcement HQ0147-15-ATI-BAA.

Fiscal 2018 research, development, test and engineering funds in the amount of $2,000,000 are being obligated at the time of award.

The Missile Defense Agency, Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the contracting activity (HQ0277-18-C-0003).

First Tanker

The first Boeing KC-46A Pegasus tanker that will be delivered to the U.S. Air Force next year successfully completed its first flight and airborne tests on December 5, 2017, taking off from Paine Field at 10:32 a.m. PST and landing approximately three-and-one-half hours later.

The first KC-46A Pegasus tanker for the U.S. Air Force takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, on its maiden flight. During the three and one-half hour flight, pilots took the aircraft to 39,000 feet/11,887 meters and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems. The KC-46 is a multirole tanker than can refuel all allied and coalition aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients (Photo by Marian Lockhart)
The first KC-46A Pegasus tanker for the U.S. Air Force takes off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, on its maiden flight. During the three and one-half hour flight, pilots took the aircraft to 39,000 feet/11,887 meters and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems. The KC-46 is a multirole tanker than can refuel all allied and coalition aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients (Photo by Marian Lockhart)

«Today’s flight is another milestone for the Air Force/Boeing team and helps move us closer to delivering operational aircraft to the warfighter», said Colonel John Newberry, U.S. Air Force KC-46 System program manager.

During the flight, Boeing test pilots took the tanker to a maximum altitude of 39,000 feet/11,887 meters and performed operational checks on engines, flight controls and environmental systems as part of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved flight profile. Prior to subsequent flights, the team will conduct a post-flight inspection and calibrate instrumentation.

«We’re very proud of this aircraft and the state-of-the-art capabilities it will bring to the Air Force», said Mike Gibbons, Boeing KC-46A tanker vice president and program manager. «We still have some tough work ahead of us, including completing our FAA certification activities, but the team is committed to ensure that upon delivery, this tanker will be everything our customer expects and more».

The newest tanker is the KC-46 program’s seventh aircraft to fly to date. The previous six are being used for testing and certification and to date have completed 2,200 flight hours and more than 1,600 «contacts» during refueling flights with F-16 Fighting Falcon, F/A-18 Super Hornet, AV-8B Harrier II, C-17 Globemaster III, A-10 Thunderbolt II, KC-10 Extender and KC-46A Pegasus aircraft.

The KC-46A Pegasus, derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, is built in the company’s Everett facility. Boeing is currently on contract for the first 34 of an expected 179 tankers for the U.S. Air Force.

The KC-46A Pegasus is a multirole tanker that can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.

 

General Characteristics

Primary Function Aerial refueling and airlift
Prime Contractor The Boeing Company
Power Plant 2 × Pratt & Whitney 4062
Thrust 62,000 lbs/275.790 kN/28,123 kgf – Thrust per High-Bypass engine (sea-level standard day)
Wingspan 157 feet, 8 inches/48.1 m
Length 165 feet, 6 inches/50.5 m
Height 52 feet, 10 inches/15.9 m
Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) 415,000 lbs/188,240 kg
Maximum Landing Weight 310,000 lbs/140,614 kg
Fuel Capacity 212,299 lbs/96,297 kg
Maximum Transfer Fuel Load 207,672 lbs/94,198 kg
Maximum Cargo Capacity 65,000 lbs/29,484 kg
Maximum Airspeed 360 KCAS (Knots Calibrated AirSpeed)/0.86 M/414 mph/667 km/h
Service Ceiling 43,100 feet/13,137 m
Maximum Distance 7,299 NM/8,400 miles/13,518 km
Pallet Positions 18 pallet positions
Air Crew 15 permanent seats for aircrew, including aeromedical evacuation aircrew
Passengers 58 total (normal operations); up to 114 total (contingency operations)
Aeromedical Evacuation 58 patients (24 litters/34 ambulatory) with the AE Patient Support Pallet configuration; 6 integral litters carried as part of normal aircraft configuration equipment

 

Expanded production

Arlington, Virginia, MBDA Inc. is proud to announce a new contract award from Boeing to produce up to 21,000 Diamond Back Wing Assemblies for the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-1). This new contract follows a U.S. Air Force award to Boeing for additional SDB-1 production.

MBDA Inc. is proud to announce a new contract award from Boeing to produce up to 21,000 Diamond Back Wing Assemblies for the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-1)
MBDA Inc. is proud to announce a new contract award from Boeing to produce up to 21,000 Diamond Back Wing Assemblies for the Small Diameter Bomb (SDB-1)

MBDA’s Diamond Back Wing Assembly – a key component of Boeing’s Small Diameter Bomb-features a patented tandem wing design that improves SDB’s manoeuverability and extends its range to over 60 nautical miles/69 miles/111 km, increasing pilot safety and expanding operational reach. SDB-1 is an advanced precision-guided glide bomb that provides aircraft with the ability to carry a higher number of weapons and accurately strike multiple targets in a single combat sortie.

Following the announcement of the contract award, MBDA Inc.’s CEO John Pranzatelli said: «This new award is possible thanks to our strong partnership with Boeing and outstanding past performance over many years of delivering wing kits. As the MBDA Inc. Huntsville team scales up and expands our reach into the U.S. supply chain, we will continue to meet customer requirements on time and budget. In addition to Diamond Back, MBDA Inc. remains committed to introducing MBDA’s superior portfolio of precision guided munitions and advanced technology to the U.S».

MBDA Inc. has been recognized with three Boeing Performance Excellence Awards over the course of producing over 18,000 Diamond Back Wing Assemblies. MBDA produced the 20,000th unit in September 2017.

MBDA Inc. will continue assembling and testing Diamond Back Wing Assemblies at its Huntsville, Alabama facility. MBDA Inc. is also hiring new staff and expanding its facilities to accommodate increasing demand for wing assemblies.

Reliability of the ICBM

A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen from the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base (AFB), Wyoming, launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a single test reentry vehicle August 2, 2017 at 2:10 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg AFB, California.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)
An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ian Dudley)

While not a response to recent North Korean actions, the test demonstrated the U.S.’ nuclear enterprise is safe, secure, effective and ready to deter, detect and defend against attacks on the U.S. and its allies.

The ICBM’s reentry vehicle, which contained a telemetry package used for operational testing, traveled approximately 4,200 miles/6,759 km to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. These test launches verify the accuracy and reliability of the ICBM weapon system, providing valuable data to ensure a continued safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent.

«This operational test launch highlights the commitment and outstanding professionalism of the 90th Missile Wing, the 576th Flight Test Squadron and our mission partners in the 30th Space Wing», said Colonel Dave Kelley, the 576th FLTS commander. «These test launches require the highest-degree of technical competence and commitment at every level and provide critical data necessary to validate the reliability, accuracy and performance of the ICBM force».

F.E. Warren AFB is one of three missile bases with crew members standing alert 24 hours a day, year-round, overseeing the nation’s ICBM alert forces.

«I am extremely proud of the operators and maintainers from the 90th Missile Wing. This task force worked flawlessly alongside the absolute professionals from the 576 Flight Test Squadron (FLTS) to make this mission a success», said Lieutenant Colonel Troy Stauter, the Glory Trip 223 Task Force commander. «Promoting the deterrence, assurance and strike capability of the Minuteman III could not be done without the dedication, professionalism and teamwork of the men and women of Air Force Global Strike Command».

The ICBM community, including the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and U.S. Strategic Command, uses data collected from test launches for continuing force development evaluation. The ICBM test launch program demonstrates the operational capability of the Minuteman III and ensures the U.S.’ ability to maintain a strong, credible nuclear deterrent as a key element of U.S. national security and the security of U.S. allies and partners.

 

General characteristics

Primary function Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Contractor Boeing Co.
Power plant Three solid-propellant rocket motors: first stage ATK refurbished M55A1; second stage ATK refurbished SR-19; third stage ATK refurbished SR-73
Technologies chemical systems division thrust first stage: 203,158 pounds/92,151 kg; second stage: 60,793 pounds/27,575 kg; third stage: 35,086 pounds/15,915 kg
Weight 79,432 pounds/36,030 kg
Diameter 5.5 feet/1.67 m
Range 5,218 NM/6,005 miles/9,664 km
Speed approximately Mach 23/15,000 mph/24,000 km/h at burnout
Ceiling 700 miles/1,120 km
Date deployed June 1970, production cessation: December 1978
Inventory 450

 

GT-223GM MMIII Media Release