Northrop Grumman has conducted the first static test-firing of its stage-one solid Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) rocket motor.
The test further validates the Sentinel team’s design approach, paving the way for the next testing stage.
“This static fire highlights the advances we’ve made in digital engineering and gives us confidence in our ability to translate that into hardware build and test as we continue to make progress on the path to flight testing,” Northrop Grumman vice president Sarah Willoughby said.
“The results allow us to validate and anchor our stage-one motor performance before entering qualification testing and completing system analyses, the key to lowering risk as we mature the Sentinel design and advance towards critical design review.”
The development comes days after wind tunnel testing, evaluating the missile’s digitally engineered designs “under conditions that mimic a missile launch.”
The $13.3-billion Sentinel program will replace the US Air Force’s 50-year-old Minuteman III ICBM starting in 2029.
The program modernizes the land-based leg of the strategic nuclear triad, which includes the Trident submarine-launched ballistic missile and nuclear weapons carried by strategic bombers.