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TRW Reports Success with First Launch of Remanufactured Minuteman III Missile; New Motors Pass With Flying Colors



;WASHINGTON--- TRW Inc. reported the successful launch Saturday of a remanufactured Minuteman III missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to the Kwajalein Missile Range in the Pacific Ocean.

The launch is part of the U.S. Air Force Propulsion Replacement Program (PRP), managed by TRW, that will test the design and performance of remanufactured Minuteman III solid rocket motors.

"The success of this first test marks a key milestone for TRW in its new role managing the ICBM fleet,'' said Dr. Robert Strickler, executive vice president and general manager of TRW Space & Missile Systems. "Not only is this launch a huge technical achievement, but it also demonstrates the ability of TRW, working with its teammates, to successfully manage this program for the Air Force.''

TRW's role as prime integration contractor for the U.S. Air Force is to ensure the readiness of the land-based ICBM force in support of national defense strategies. To that end, TRW is managing the replacement of aging propulsion systems in the Minuteman III missiles with new motors to maintain alert readiness status until 2020.

Under contract to TRW, a joint venture propulsion team of Thiokol Propulsion, a division of Cordant Technologies, Inc., and Pratt & Whitney's Chemical Systems Division (CSD), was formed to produce the motors. Thiokol and CSD are remanufacturing the motors, including replacing the propellant in the motors and replacing obsolete or environmentally unsafe materials and components.

Based in part on the results of this flight test, and a second flight test to be conducted early next year, the Air Force will decide whether to begin the Propulsion Replacement Program full rate production phase in the Fall of next year.

TRW Inc. won the ICBM prime integration contract in December 1997. The PRP is one of several key initiatives that TRW will execute for the Air Force under this contract. A second key initiative is the Guidance Replacement Program (GRP), led by TRW teammate The Boeing Company. GRP, which is already in low rate initial production (LRIP), will extend the life of the Minuteman III guidance system. A guidance system produced by the LRIP contract was also successfully flown on this flight (third GRP flight).

"The successful integration of these two modernization programs is a great leap in the life extension of the Minuteman missile through the year 2020,'' said Andy Cianciotto, TRW vice president and program manager for the ICBM prime contract.

Since 1954, TRW has served as systems engineering and technical advisor to the Air Force in managing the ICBM fleet. This new contract reflects major changes in the management of the nation's highly successful ICBM program. Formerly, the ICBM System Program Office (SPO) at Hill Air Force Base, with TRW providing technical support, directed a number of associate contractors that provided various elements of the ICBM system. Under the new contract, TRW is the prime contractor, integrating a team of former associate contractors, and providing the required systems engineering and subsystems technical expertise to manage the total ICBM system.

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TRW Reports Success with First Launch of Remanufactured Minuteman III Missile; New Motors Pass With Flying Colors