US unveiled nuke LGM-35A Sentinel missile: 300-kt of TNT, astro-INS

WASHINGTON — The United States will invest nearly $ 100 billion in the coming years to arm itself with the next-generation LGM-35A Sentinel intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile in 2029. Thus, the B-52 Stratofortress and B-21 Raider bombers are currently under construction, as well as several nuclear submarines, along with intercontinental ballistic missile launch silos and all of them forming the US nuclear triad, will retire the 50-year-old ISBM Minuteman.

Photo credit: USAF

The name of the missile was announced by Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall on April 5 in a press release. reminds us that at the end of 2020 [September] the American defense company Northrop Grumman received a contract worth 13.3 billion USD for the development of a next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, as a major component of Ground-Based US Strategic Deterrent.

Frank Kendall talks about choosing the name of the rocket. According to him, it symbolizes the thousands of American soldiers who unnoticed and quietly carried out their deterrence missions daily and should serve as a reminder to soldiers of future generations to continue to carry out their missions in a disciplined and responsible manner. “Our Nation’s nuclear deterrent force, two legs of which is operated by Airmen, has quietly provided a strategic security shield for decades,” Kendall said. “All that time, the Department of the Air Force has kept the watch; always vigilant and ready.”

Computer error prevented the launch of the Minuteman III ballistic missile
Photo credit: Inforum

What will be the ICBM LGM-35A Sentinel?

There is much speculation about the ICBM LGM-35A Sentinel’s nuclear and deterrent capabilities. However, there is information, although not yet officially confirmed, that the new nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile will carry a nuclear warhead equal to at least 300 kilotons of TNT. These are W87 mod 0 thermonuclear warheads [300 kilotons of TNT [1,300 TJ]] and W87 mod 1 thermonuclear warheads [unknown yield].

It is currently assumed that the missile will be delivered to its final destination in two ways: launched by air [as we mentioned – the new bombers] and launched from a ground-based missile silo. Most likely, the rocket will be powered by a three-stage solid-fuel rocket engine.

The navigation system will be built by GPS and an astro-inertial navigation system. This means that in addition to satellite positioning and aiming, the intercontinental missile will receive accelerometers and gyroscopes that will measure each plane and direction of the missile, its speed, which will lead to calculating the exact distance to the target, and conversion of distance and course, distance and azimuth to destination.

Photo credit: USAF

GBSD testing would occur mainly at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, and at Vandenberg Space Force Base [VSFB], California, with missile launches from VSFB over the Pacific Ocean. Additional testing would be conducted at U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, U.S. Army Garrison – Kwajalein Atoll, and within the territorial waters of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.


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