Hoeven Working to Support MAFB Priorities

Senator Reviews Nuclear Force Improvement Program, B-52 Modernization, UH-1N Helicopter Rlacement

MINOT, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today met with leaders at Minot Air Force Base to help advance work being done under the Nuclear Force Improvement Program and to ensure initiatives move forward to modernize the B-52 fleet, replace the UH-1N helicopter and upgrade the nuclear cruise missile. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the senator is working to support Minot’s missions as the Senate begins work this spring on Fiscal Year 2017 defense authorization and appropriations legislation.

“Minot Air Force Base is an important asset to our national defense, and one of the only location in the U.S. to host two legs of the nation’s nuclear triad,” said Hoeven. “We’re working to ensure that the airmen and women here in Minot have the tools they need to succeed in their missions. That includes initiatives to upgrades the B-52 fleet, replace the aging UH-1N helicopter, and develop a new nuclear cruise missile.” 

Last November, Hoeven worked to pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which fully authorized the FY16 Air Force budget for the ICBM and B-52 missions at Minot AFB, including the Nuclear Force Improvement Program (NFIP). The senator also worked to secure funding for its missions in the year-end appropriations measure.

This year, the senator is working on the committee to build the Air Force’s 2017 budget, which will accelerate replacement of the UH-1N helicopter, continue modernization of the B-52 bomber and continue development of a new, long-range stand-off (LRSO) Cruise Missile. The senator is also working to support the ongoing efforts of the NFIP.

UH-1N Helicopter Fleet Replacement

The senator visited the 54th Helicopter Squadron to review the current fleet and see firsthand the need to replace the small, aging UH-1N helicopters with new helicopters that can provide a greater level of security for Minot Air Force Base’s 150 ICBM silos. Senator Hoeven and members of the Senate ICBM Coalition wrote to Air Force Secretary Deborah James urging the Air Force to move quickly to replace the UH-1N fleet, which commanders say does not meet requirements to secure ICBM silos at Minot and the other missile bases.

  • $2.5 million to begin replacing the UH-1N in 2016.
  • The Air Force’s request for 2017 is $18.34 million to begin replacing the UH-1N, and Hoeven is pressing the Appropriations Committee for additional funding.

Modernizing the B-52 Bomber

Hoeven inspected the base’s new B-52 Two-Bay Phase Maintenance Dock, which was recently completed and provides an indoor facility where B-52s can be maintained. Hoeven worked to secure the $34 million dollars for the project as a member of the Senate Military Construction Appropriations Committee. In FY 2016, Hoeven secured funding to modernize the B-52, including programs to improve its communications equipment and upgrade the internal bomb bay.

  • $225.4 million for the first round of upgrades in 2016
  • The 2017 budget includes $215.4 million, including:
    • Communications - $112.7 million
    • Smart Weapons Bomb Bay - $38.3 million
    • Aircraft GPS Upgrade - $6.9 million
    • Radar Office Startup - $4.7 million
LRSO Cruise Missile Upgrade

Hoeven continues efforts to secure funding to begin work to design a new cruise missile to replace the existing air-launched cruise missile (ALCM) that flies on the B-52. 

  • $16 million to begin work on a new LRSO in 2016
  • Hoeven is working to secure more than $95 million for the upgrade in 2017.
ICBM Fleet Improvement and Maintenance

Hoeven worked to secure substantial funding in the 2016 budget to replace, modify and procure the Minuteman III missile. That included funding for R&D.

  • $494 million in the 2016 budget.
  • The senator is working to secure $637.4 million in the 2017 budget.
Nuclear Force Improvement Program

Hoeven reviewed initiatives underway at the base under the NFIP, which the senator worked with Air Force officials to start in 2014. The program is designed to improve mission effectiveness, culture, morale and areas in need of investment. The NFIP is not a separate line item. The improvements achieved by the program are funded as part of the Air Force’s base budget across several nuclear-related accounts.