Lockheed Martin awarded $1B to build nuclear reentry vehicle for Sentinel ICBM

By Shelley K. Mesch / November 1, 2023 at 11:27 AM

The Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin close to $1 billion to build a reentry vehicle for the Sentinel Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System, the Defense Department announced Monday.

The $996 million contract for the Mk21A will be used for engineering, manufacturing and design work to “provide a low technical risk and affordable RV for Sentinel,” according to the announcement.

Mk21A is a modification of the legacy Minuteman III’s Mk21 vehicle, and it will carry Sentinel’s W87-1 warhead.

Work under this contract is expected to be completed by the end of October 2039, according to the announcement. The Air Force has previously said initial operational capability is expected in fiscal year 2030.

At the time of the award, $27 million was obligated from FY-24 funds for research, development, test and evaluation.

The contract is a sole-source acquisition, which was announced in April last year.

The Air Force also plans on funding research for the Next Generation Reentry Vehicle beginning this fiscal year, according to budget request documents released in March. Congress has yet to pass an FY-24 budget, but the service requested $15.5 million in RDT&E funding for the effort.