VANDENBERG — Vandenberg Air Force Base has been selected as the preferred location for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, a new intercontinental ballistic missile, Formal Training Unit.
John Roth, acting secretary of the Air Force, announced the selection on Thursday. The FTU for the current ICBM is located at the Vandenberg base. The GBSD is expected to replace all operational Minuteman II missiles by 2036 and is being designed to maximize the use of existing infrastructure, according to officials.
“The Minuteman III weapon system has been a bedrock of U.S. national security for more than five decades, but if one looks ahead to the next 50 years, the question of investing in nuclear modernization is as relevant as ever,” Gen. Charles Q Brown, Jr., Air Force Chief of Staff, said in a statement. “We are fully committed to the GBSD Program of Record, which will ensure our nation’s nuclear force is ready to meet the warfighting needs of today and tomorrow.”
Air Force officials say the new ICBM will have increased performance, extended range, enhanced security and improved reliability. The missiles will provide the U.S. with “an upgraded and broader array of options to maintain a robust, flexible, tailorable and responsive nuclear deterrent,” officials said.
A final basing decision will be made after a required environmental impact analysis.
— Mitchell White