US Air Force Flight-Tests Future ICBM Reentry Vehicle

The US Air Force and Lockheed Martin have flight-tested the future intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) reentry vehicle.

During the test, they assessed the Mk21A’s design components and technologies, further informing design and future flight tests.

Lockheed is maturing the vehicle’s design, including the arming and fuzing subsystem and support equipment, the company said.

“This progress is built on a strong foundation — Lockheed Martin’s 65-plus years of demonstrated exceptional performance in reentry technologies and a pioneering digital engineering approach on this program from its beginning,” Lockheed VP of Strategic Reentry Jay Watson said.

“We remain focused on delivering this capability for the warfighter as a trusted partner to the US Air Force for ICBM reentry systems and modernization of the deterrent triad.”

MK21A Reentry Vehicle

Lockheed Martin clinched a $1-billion contract to build the vehicle last year.

It will carry the future ICBM payload — the W87-1 nuclear warhead, an upgrade on the W87 carried by the operational Minuteman III ICBM Mk 21 reentry vehicle.

Work is being performed in Pennsylvania and is expected to be completed by October 2026.

The future LGM-35A Sentinel ICBM is expected to start replacing the ground-based Minuteman-III from 2029.

Related Articles

Back to top button