Hoeven Secures Long Term Air Force Commitment to the B-52, Minot Missions

Senator Presses Top Air Force Commander for New B-52 Engines, Upgrades for ICBMs and Facilities at Minot AFB

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven recently secured a commitment from General Robin Rand, the Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, to sustain and enhance the B-52, the Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) and the facilities at Minot Air Force Base. 

“My conversation with General Rand was all about ensuring that the Air Force continues to invest in the B-52, the ICBMs and Minot Air Force Base,” Hoeven said. “Our men and women at the air base are on the front lines of vital missions, whether its operations in the Korean peninsula or the Middle East. Minot will continue to fill this vital role into the coming decades, which makes our recent upgrades to the B-52 all the more important. Building on this progress, I told General Rand that putting new engines on the B-52 must be a top priority.”

Hoeven and Rand agreed that the B-52 is a critical part of today’s bomber force and that additional investments should be made to ensure its capabilities are available for years to come. To this end, the senator pressed General Rand to add new engines to the aircraft. Hoeven and Rand also discussed the weapons storage area and other facilities that contribute to the B-52 mission at Minot Air Force Base and the need to ensure the base can support the bomber mission well into the future.

Hoeven has worked throughout his tenure to ensure the Minot airmen have the tools they needs to be successful in their missions. In recent years, Hoeven, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has secured funding for a variety of B-52 upgrades, including advanced communications equipment, new avionics and the ability of the aircraft to deploy smart weapons from its internal bomb bay. Hoeven also has secured funding for a new nuclear capable cruise missile to replace the aging air launched cruise missile currently carried on the aircraft.  

As part of these ongoing efforts, Hoeven helped secure the following provisions in the FY18 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was signed into law last month:

  • $586 million authorized to sustain the existing fleet of ICBMs and $215.7 million for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent program to develop a replacement for the existing Minuteman III.
  • $221.4 million authorized for upgrades to the B-52 and $451 million for the Long Range Stand Off (LRSO) missile to replace the aging Air Launched Cruise Missile carried on the B-52.
  • $108.6 million authorized for the Air Force to replace the UH-1N Huey helicopter that provides security for the ICBMs located around Minot Air Force Base. 

In addition, both Secretary Wilson and Defense Secretary James Mattis visited the Minot Air Force Base last September, following invitations from Hoeven. The senator stressed the importance of these officials seeing the work of the base’s airmen firsthand as they work to ensure the nation has a credible nuclear force to deter aggression against the U.S. and counter rogue nations, like North Korea.