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AFGSC Director of ICBM Modernization discusses “monumental” Sentinel Program at Joint Engineers Conference

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Breanna Christopher Volkmar
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Colin J. Connor, Air Force Global Strike Command Director of Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Modernization, recently highlighted the future of the LGM-35A Sentinel during the annual Joint Engineers Conference in Helena, Montana.

The Sentinel, which will modernize 400 missiles, 450 silos and more than 600 facilities across almost 40,000 square miles of U.S. territory over 6 states, 3 operational wings and a test location, is scheduled to replace the LGM-30G Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile weapon system.

“[61 years ago], the first ever intercontinental ballistic missile went on alert, here in Montana,” said Connor. “It’s been a fantastic weapon system, but now it’s time for our generation to come into the next [one].”

Connor stepped into his role in August of this year and is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the activities of the Air Force in support of the deployment of the Sentinel ICBM weapon system and the retirement of the Minuteman III ICBM weapon system.

As keynote speaker during the conference, he described the significance of the project as monumental for the United States. The weapon system overhaul will occur in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and Nebraska over the next 20 years.

The project includes replacing all land-based Minuteman III missiles deployed in the continental United States, with Sentinel missiles. All components of the previous weapon system will be replaced, including the motors, interstages, propulsion system rocket engine, and missile guidance set. The number, size, configuration, and design of the nuclear warheads provided by the Department of Energy would remain unchanged.

“We’re not digging 150 new holes,” Connor explained of the physical replacement process. “We’re going to pull the [old] missiles out of the silos, figure out what state the silo is in, refurbish them and place the new missile in.”

He also discussed the fiber optics infrastructure that will be implemented as one of the many modernization efforts to replace aging telephone lines originally placed in the ground during the 1960s.

In all, the modernization plan is intended to hone strategic abilities, improve operational capabilities and increase capacity to succeed in a high-intensity conflict.

While the LGM-35A Sentinel will replace the LGM-30G Minuteman III ICBM with an initial capability of 2029, until full capability is achieved, the Air Force is committed to ensuring the Minuteman III remains a viable deterrent.

For more information regarding the Sentinel Program:

For queries regarding the ICBM test launch mission and missile, contact AFGSC Public Affairs at 318-456-1305 (After Hours 318-532-1215) or