Armed Forces News

An operational test launch of an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile, precursor to the Sentinel, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., is seen from nearby Lompoc, CA, in Sept. 2013. The ICBM safely launched and traveled the approximately 4,200 nautical miles to its target in the Marshall Islands. (Photo by Lt. Col. Andy Wulfestieg)

The newest weapon in the nuclear triad has a name: Sentinel. Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall approved the designation for the program, which would replace the aging Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile system as the ground-based strategic deterrent.

“The name Sentinel recognizes the mindset that thousands of airmen past and present, have brought to the deterrence mission, and will sere as a reminder for those who operate, secure, and maintain this system in the future about the discipline and responsibility their duty entails,” Kendall said.

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The Air Force adopted the Sentinel after deciding that replacement of the Minuteman III would be more cost-effective than modernizing it. The new system also would provide a better strategic deterrent as well, service leaders believe.

“Nuclear deterrence is central to our defense posture and more important now than it’s ever been,” said Gen. Anthony Cotton, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. “This system will be a highly resilient and capable deterrent that will bring global stability to us and our allies for decades to come.”

Sentinel will be based in existing ballistic-missile Air Force bases – to include F.E. Warren in Wyoming, Malmstrom in Montana, and Minot in North Dakota.

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