- Associated Press - Monday, February 27, 2017

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - A military contractor that designs intercontinental ballistic missiles has met with leaders in Minot.

Northrop Grumman is one of three military contractors that have submitted proposals for the first portion of the multibillion-dollar, long-term program to replace the Minuteman III ICBMs. The acronym stands for land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers and submarine-launched ballistic missiles.

“It’s part of what has kept our nation safe for the last 60 years,” said Carol Erikson, a vice president at Northrop Grumman. “It is the land-based leg of the triad and it consists of all the missiles, command and control, launch facilities and the infrastructure.”

There are 450 ICBMs across the Midwest, which includes 150 in north central and northwest North Dakota.

Minot Air Force Base’s 91st Missile Wing operates, maintains and secures missiles. Lockheed Martin and Boeing have also submitted plans.

The Wednesday meeting was vital for the company to understand the unique opportunities and challenges associated with the Minot’s communities and incorporate them into the project’s design, Carol Erikson told the Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/2lg3pJE ).

Erikson said the missile program is estimated to cost around $60 billion for design, development, production and sustainment through 2075. She said a five-year budget has been allocated for the program and includes the design phase, and two of the production phases.

“It will bring a long-term sustained presence; the importance of Minot Air Force Base will continue to be a very strong presence here in the community,” said Erickson.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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