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Northrop Grumman meets strategic deterrent milestone

Northrop Grumman met a key manufacturing milestone in August, successfully performing the first insulation and case wind of the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent first-stage solid rocket motor.

“Working closely with the Air Force and nationwide team of industry partners, we continue to make progress to modernize the country’s aging intercontinental ballistic missile system,” said Steve Lunny, vice president, GBSD program, Northrop Grumman. “This manufacturing milestone further demonstrates the maturity of our first-stage solid rocket motor design, manufacturing process, tooling and business systems.”

Northrop Grumman performs the case wind process for the first-stage solid rocket motor, applying composite material to form the outer shell of the motor. (Northrop Grumman photograph)

Northrop Grumman performed the insulation wind around a plaster tooling mandrel. The insulation protects the outer casing of the motor from extreme temperatures caused by burning propellant inside the motor. Following insulation is the case wind process, which applies composite material around the insulation to form the outer structure, or shell, of the motor. Northrop Grumman has begun a similar insulation and case wind process for the second-stage motor, as the program team continues on track to the Air Force GBSD schedule.

This first-stage motor will now undergo testing to validate tooling and manufacturing processes as well as pressure-testing to ensure structural design integrity. The new GBSD missile will be a three stage solid rocket motor. Northrop Grumman is building the first and second stage.

Northrop Grumman was awarded the GBSD engineering and manufacturing development contract in September 2020 to begin modernizing the nation’s aging intercontinental ballistic missile system. Northrop Grumman is leading a nationwide team that includes Aerojet Rocketdyne, Bechtel, CAE, Clark, Collins Aerospace, General Dynamics, HDT, Honeywell, Kratos Defense and Security Solutions, Lockheed Martin, and Textron Systems, as well as hundreds of small and medium-sized companies from across the defense, engineering and construction industries. Overall, the GBSD program will involve over 10,000 people across the U.S. directly working on this vital national security program. For more information, please visit: www.northropgrumman.com/gbsd

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