The U.S. Air Force is steadfast in modernizing its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) leg of the nation’s nuclear triad, the three-pronged military force structure that serves as the core of America’s national security. Previously known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), the new Sentinel missile system will serve as a strategic layer of defense across the entire United States, providing reliable protection at any given notice. The Sentinel system is designed to modernize capabilities and eventually replace 400 active Minuteman III missiles in the existing infrastructure, which have been in service for over 50 years.
To ensure a smooth transition to the Sentinel program, it’s imperative that the current launch facility infrastructure is rapidly assessed to ensure a safe, reliable, and efficient operation. As infrastructure ages, structural integrity often weakens and risks increase. With the U.S. Air Force relying on facility infrastructure dating back to the Cold War, performing holistic, high-definition risk assessments is a priority. In this blog, I’ll explain how Gecko Robotics is helping the U.S. Air Force modernize systems with next-generation technology and unprecedented data analytics.
Creating the Data Layer that Will Modernize the Nuclear Triad
Gecko Robotics is a leader in helping the world’s most essential institutions operate and maintain their critical infrastructure. Recently, Gecko Robotics was awarded a contract by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center to help modernize U.S. nuclear missile silos across the country as part of the Sentinel program—protecting and building a system that is safe, reliable, and capable at any given moment.
Under this contract, we are integrating state-of-the-art concrete evaluation technology into our fleet of crawling robots. The new concrete evaluation technology consists of a suite of sensors that will enable our team to report on the comprehensive health of the silos and also build risk profiles and repair plan options within our software platform. Our combination of robotics, IoT sensors, and data analysis software work together to provide new levels of reliability with the ability to assess concrete and steel liners in ICBM launch facilities rapidly and thoroughly.
Utilizing Data to Increase Mission Readiness
Gecko Robotics’ vertically integrated product suite includes robotic data acquisition and digital twin decision-making software. These leading technologies will provide the Air Force and its partners with a full construction risk assessment to transition and modernize the silos on schedule with higher operational confidence than any previously used method. The comprehensive analysis will generate digital twins of the silos, helping to make the Air Force Sentinel program a best-in-class standard of how the new Condition Based Maintenance+ (CBM+) requirements from the Office of the Secretary of Defense can be adopted for assets the Department of Defense has owned and operated for several decades.
With the Air Force continuing to rely upon aging facilities, obtaining this comprehensive data visibility is critical. The Air Force can now take a proactive approach by gaining a holistic understanding of its infrastructure, quickly identifying structural issues before problems occur, and prioritizing targeted repairs to reduce downtime and additional costs for continuous mission readiness.
Protecting Our Infrastructure and Our Nation
A seamless transition to the Sentinel program brings stability to the U.S. with sustained mission readiness as the development of the new ICBM continues. Our goal is to provide the Air Force with the data needed to ensure infrastructure works properly while extending asset life cycles to eliminate a deterrence gap.
The world depends on the reliable and efficient operation of physical assets across many critical sectors, including power, oil and gas, manufacturing, and the government. Gecko Robotics remains committed to protecting today’s critical infrastructure and informing tomorrow’s. We are confident in the capabilities we bring to the U.S. Air Force, providing a new level of insight to best protect our nation through this partnership and potential others as we continue to expand in the federal space.