CASPER, Wyo. — The United States Air Force Global Strike Command announced on Friday, Aug. 14 that a project to replace aging Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles will begin at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne “as early as 2023.”
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon’s office said that the governor applauds the Air Force’s decision to begin the project at F.E. Warren. The Air Force plans to continue the project at Malstrom AFB in Montana in 2026 and Minot AFB in North Dakota in 2029.
“I am extremely excited about this announcement,” Gordon said in a release from his office. “This is a multi-billion dollar project that will benefit the entire state’s economy, while fortifying the nation’s defense. I want to pass on our gratitude to all of the men and women who serve at F.E. Warren, across the Air Force and the entire military.”
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Gordon’s office says the project to replace land-based nuclear missiles could create 1,000 jobs and may lead to more housing.
The Air Force says that the ICBMs will be replaced with “ground based strategic deterrent” (GBSD).
“Military construction is phased ahead of the actual deployment of GBSD to allow time for initial beddown, ensure facilities are ready for any unique mission equipment, and support training and operational certification prior to the first sites obtaining operational status at each wing,” the Air Force says. “Using infrastructure at current locations allows both the Minuteman III and GBSD weapons systems to continue meeting all nuclear surety and safety standards throughout their operational lives, particularly during the transition period.”
Air Force Global Strike Command General Tim Ray added: “Ensuring missile bases remain missile bases makes the most sense for the taxpayer and the mission. The Minuteman III is 50 years old; it’s past time to upgrade the missile systems. Our goal is ensure our systems remain fully safe, secure and effective in the defense of our nation and allies.”
The Air Force Global Strike Command says goals of the GBSD program are to “deliver a low technical risk, affordable, total system replacement starting in the late 2020s, to improve the ICBM’s capabilities and provide more efficient operations, maintenance, and security at lower lifecycle costs.”
The construction start dates will not be formally established until Environmental Impact Statements have been completed, according to the Air Force.
This article originally appeared on Oil City News. Used with permission.