The Department of the Air Force’s new weapon system, the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, has officially been designated 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.
«Our Nation’s nuclear deterrent force, two legs of which is operated by Airmen, has quietly provided a strategic security shield for decades», Kendall said. «All that time, the Department of the Air Force has kept the watch; always vigilant and ready. The name Sentinel recognizes the mindset that thousands of Airmen, past and present, have brought to the deterrence mission, and will serve as a reminder for those who operate, secure, and maintain this system in the future about the discipline and responsibility their duty entails».
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. Replacing the 1970s-era missile modernizes the ground-based leg of the nuclear triad and brings the Minuteman’s more than 50 years of service to a close.
«As the Air Force celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, the Minuteman III Weapon System has been and will continue to be integral to our Nation’s defense», said Air Force Chief of Staff General Charles Q. Brown, Jr. «As we look ahead to the next 75 years, investing in nuclear modernization is as relevant as ever and we are committed to transitioning to the Sentinel, which will ensure our Nation is ready to provide strategic deterrence for tomorrow».