The US Air Force makes concrete steps towards accelerating the limited and gradual construction of next-generation intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM).
The Pentagon will need new missiles to carry out a more aggressive nuclear strategy described in Nuclear Posture Review adopted the White House, writes National Interest.
Significant technological progress has already been achieved in the development and “system engineering” of a new arsenal of ICBMs, which will be called Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD), which will serve the United States until the 2070s.
The edition reminds that the latest version of the Nuclear Posture Review, promulgated earlier this year, calls for an increase in the role of nuclear weapons within the wider deterrence strategy. In particular, it is proposed to do this with the help of new nuclear missiles based on low-yield submarines.
“We are taking the NPR of 2010 and turning it on its head….it included no new mission. This new NPR changes that context and calls for deploying more weapons. Let’s get things done, execute on time,” said General Timothy Ray, commander of the US Air Force’s Global Strike Command.
The Air Force plans to launch new ICBMs in the early 2020s as part of a long-term plan to develop and deploy the next generation of intercontinental nuclear warheads until the end of the next decade. The new US weapons will have improved characteristics in terms of range, operational fitness, aiming technologies and lethality.
Ray said that the sum total of what the US military are doing will be a very significant broad enterprise, which reflects the renewed interest.
Contracts for developing, testing and launching new ICBMs were awarded to Northrop Grumman and Boeing last year. For the phase, in fact, they have been given three years of development, after which the Air Force plans to move to the engineering and production stage, as well as the deployment of new missiles.
Overall, the US Army is going to build about 400 new GBSD weapons to update the nuclear arsenal, built in the 1970s. In particular, the new missiles will replace the old Minuteman III, created by Boeing during the Cold War.