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Commentary: Minuteman III program embraces digital sustainment tool

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:51 Pacific Time Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. ICBM test launches demonstrate that the U.S. ICBM fleet is relevant, essential and key to leveraging dominance in an era of Strategic Competition. (U.S. Space Force photo by Michael Peterson)

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:53 Pacific Time Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. ICBM test launches demonstrate that the U.S. ICBM fleet is relevant, essential and key to leveraging dominance in an era of Strategic Competition. (U.S. Space Force photo by Michael Peterson)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center’s Minuteman III program office here is embracing the Air Force Chief of Staff’s push to “accelerate change or lose.”
 
Over the past five years, there have been various initiatives to transition the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from technology of the 1960s to the digital capability of the 21st century. Most recently, the program office contracted with Sabel Systems to create a “Teamcenter” hub to consolidate and organize data, enable enterprise-wide workflows, and visualize the health of the ICBM fleet.
 
While it would not be cost effective to transition all of Minuteman III to a digital environment in the sunset phase of its lifecycle, there are specific targets of opportunity with sufficient return on investment to justify investment.
 
Perhaps the greatest opportunity for Teamcenter is to facilitate a smooth sustainment transition across the ICBM enterprise as Minuteman III phases out and the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) ICBM phases in over the next 18 years.
 
“Teamcenter provides us the capability to maintain a digital library of our complex weapon system and has the ability to store that data in a secure cloud,” said Col. Quigley, director, AFNWC Minuteman III Systems Directorate.  “It will serve as the backbone of data used for GBSD digital engineering and informing the Minuteman III-to-GBSD transition.”
 
The program office is adopting Teamcenter to help visualize workflows and system work-breakdown-structures. The tool is capturing 3-D drawings of subsystems and components that missile wing maintainers can use in the future.
 
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