Air Force officials are poised to complete an internal analysis of the strategy under consideration to refurbish the Mk 21 fuzes used in the Minuteman III ICBM warheads, Brig. Gen. Everett Thomas, who oversees USAF’s nuclear sustainment, told lawmakers last week. Appearing before the House Armed Services Committee’s strategic forces panel on Jan. 21, Thomas said this assessment will result in “the final refurbishment strategy” to ensure that the warheads remain reliable, capable, and safe. This effort is just one of the many activities underway to keep the MMIII fleet viable out to 2030 as Congress has mandated. Beyond refurbishment, the Air Force last month issued a request for information, seeking industry input on a potential replacement fuze. “There are no new fuze performance requirements,” reads the solicitation. However, the replacement would address “some known legacy issues … to resolve expected parts and materials availability issues.”
Lessons from the KC-46 and F-35 will prove useful to the testing community in the years to come, the nominee to take over the role of director of operational test and evaluation for the Pentagon told lawmakers Oct. 19.