By -NO AUTHOR-
For all the talk about a disarmed world in which soldiers are off duty and weapons are taken apart for recycling, the U.S. still has enemies that wish its destruction, and so the U.S. Air Force has issued two contracts, worth about $1.8 billion, to begin the process of replacing an aging nuclear weapons system, says a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The Air Force said it has awarded contracts of about $900 million each to Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Co. to “mature design concepts and prove developmental technologies” for a new Long Range Standoff weapon.
It is intended to replace the aging AGM-86B Air Launched Cruise Missile.
“This weapon will modernize the air-based leg of the nuclear triad,” Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson said in the Air Force announcement. “Deterrence works if our adversaries know that we can hold at risk things they value. This weapon will enhance our ability to do so, and we must modernize it cost-effectively.”
At the end of the 54-month contract period, the Air Force said, its Nuclear Weapons Center will pick a single contractor for the next phases, engineering and manufacturing development, production and deployment.
The current cruise missile was built in the 1980s and was estimated at that time to have a 10-year design life. Experts say it will face increasingly significant operational challenges until it is replaced, which is expected to be in the late 2020s.
The companies awarded the contracts are responsible now to develop technologies for the replacements, and demonstrate their reliability and maintainability.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein explained the Long Range Standoff is a “critical capability” for America.
The LRSO program, at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, is part of the AFNWC Air Delivered Capabilities directorate.
“These contract awards mark another important step in replacing our aging Air Launched Cruise Missiles,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Jansson, commander of the AFNWC. “Continued competition will help ensure the bomber leg of the nuclear triad is cost-effectively modernized with a survivable, reliable, and credible standoff capability.”
An analysis in Popular Mechanics pointed out the new program could keep even older airplanes, such as the B-52, in America’s defense arsenal.
For the rest of this report, and more, please go to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
Source:: World Net Daily – WorldShare this: