Lockheed Martin, Raytheon to complete for USAF’s nuclear-capable cruise missile

6:22:00 AM

The US Air Force (USAF) has awarded Lockheed Martin and Raytheon each USD900 million contracts for the new nuclear-capable Long Range Standoff (LRSO) cruise missile’s technology maturation and risk reduction acquisition phase.

The two companies will work via cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts, expected to be completed by 2022, to replace Boeing’s AGM-86B nuclear-capable air-launched cruise missile with a new LRS), the Pentagon said in a 23 August announcement.

Updates to the nuclear arsenal as currently planned to include the LRSO, the new Northrop Grumman B-21 Raider bomber, Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) to largely replace Minuteman ICBMs, and 12 Columbia-class ballistic missile submarines to replace Ohio-class SSBNs. All this will come at significant cost, mostly during or just after a projected spike in overall defence modernisation spending because of US Navy shipbuilding requirements and the introduction of new USAF aircraft types.

The LRSO has emerged as a potentially at-risk programme, given the looming costs and arguments that a new B-21 bomber should suffice for the air leg of the US nuclear ‘triad’.

The Pentagon in 17 begun its Nuclear Posture Review that is to culminate in a final report to the president by the end of the year.

A key element of Washington's nuclear posture has been drawing down warhead numbers while maintaining and upgrading the ageing weapons and the strategic nuclear submarines (SSBNs), silo-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), and long-range strategic bombers.

US Air Force General John Hyten, head of US Strategic Command, told Congress last year that he "strongly" supports efforts to modernise all legs of the 'triad'.


Share this

Related Posts

Next Post »