Lockheed Martin has received a $1-billion contract to produce the MK21A Reentry Vehicle for the US Air Force’s Sentinel Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM).
According to the contract announcement, the company will facilitate the design, engineering, and manufacturing of a “low technical risk” and “affordable” reentry vehicle for the next-generation missile weapon.
The Mk21A is said to be a critical component of the Sentinel as it will carry the missile’s payload – a powerful W87-1 nuclear warhead.
Work for the contract will be performed in Pennsylvania and is expected to be complete by October 2026.
The production agreement was signed ahead of the US Department of Defense’s initial schedule, which was 2026.
About the Sentinel
The Sentinel is a ground-based strategic deterrent against the most sophisticated threats on the modern battlefield.
Still in the early stages of development, the cruise missile is expected to have a strike range exceeding 5,500 kilometers (3,417 miles).
It can also reportedly reach targets across the world in just 30 minutes.
Boasting digital engineering technologies and a modular open system architecture, the weapon can be easily integrated with future components to adapt to evolving threats.
According to the Pentagon, the Sentinel will significantly improve the national defense capabilities of the US amid increasing regional conflicts.