New ICBM reentry vehicle completes test launch

By Shelley K. Mesch / June 18, 2024 at 4:58 PM

The Air Force yesterday ran a test launch of a new intercontinental ballistic missile reentry vehicle, the service announced today.

The Lockheed Martin-made unarmed Mk21A RV launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA late last night aboard a Minotaur I rocket, according to the announcement.

Mk21A is in the engineering and manufacturing development phase to carry the W87-1 nuclear warhead. It will be used on the LGM-35A Sentinel missiles that are set to replace the Cold War-era Minuteman III system.

Lockheed won the $996 million EMD contract in December.

Lockheed is still maturing the reentry vehicle’s design, according to a statement from the company, which includes the arming and fuzing subsystem and support equipment. Data from the test will further inform the design and future flight tests.