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Military’s multibillion-dollar missile replacement program continues to progress at Hill AFB

By Mitch Shaw standard-Examiner - | Mar 2, 2021

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Construction has started on the latest project associated with the military’s multibillion-dollar missile replacement program at Hill Air Force Base.

In a news release, Leah Bryant, spokesperson for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, said work has begun on a 140,000-square-foot building that will be used for the Department of Defense’s Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program, headquartered at Hill. Bryant said the new building will include space for the testing of both the hardware and software of the weapons systems associated with the replacement program.

The facility will also include a large collaboration space, an auditorium and the first covered parking structure at Hill. It will house the center’s GBSD Systems Directorate and more than 700 employees.

“We’re at an inflection point of the history of this base, and maybe the most exciting time for Hill for the next 10 to 15 years,” Col. Jason Bartolomei, director of GBSD Systems Directorate, said of the new building and the program as a whole. “What we see here is something special, not only for GBSD but for all of the Air Force.”

The GBSD program will replace the old intercontinental ballistic missiles of the nation’s land-based leg of the nuclear triad. The initiative involves the acquisition of new missiles, new command and control systems and, eventually, large-scale renovations of launch control centers. According to the Congressional Research Service, the program is estimated to cost more than $80 billion over its 30-year life span.

Currently being built up near Hill’s southwest border with Roy, the program will eventually include six new buildings on base with over 1 million square feet of office and lab facilities. In August 2019, Northrop Grumman broke ground on the Roy Innovation Center, which will serve as future headquarters for Northrop’s work supporting the program.

Members of Utah’s congressional delegation have said the GBSD program is expected to bring as many as 4,000 new employees to Northern Utah and base officials have said the program will be Hill’s largest source of growth over the next decade.

According to the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center Public Affairs office, the current U.S. Minuteman III missile fleet was fielded in the 1970s, with an initial 10-year service life, and celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. The launch infrastructure system spreads across five states and includes 400 missiles, 450 launch facilities and 45 launch control centers — all on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Bryant said construction of the new facility is scheduled to be completed by April 2023, with operations starting in April 2024. Once completed, both government and contractor personnel associated with the GBSD program will be consolidated into one secure building.

Brig. Gen. Anthony Genatempo, commander of the Air Force’s NWC, said the new facility will be a “one-stop shop for GBSD testing and data management” and make the program more cost effective and efficient overall.

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