U.S. mil­i­tary plan­ning $5bn mis­sile sys­tem up­grade in Wy­oming

Tehran Times - - WORLD IN FOCUS -

The United States govern­ment is plan­ning to spend up to $5 bil­lion in or­der to up­grade an age­ing nu­clear mis­sile sys­tem in the state of Wy­oming, as part of an on­go­ing mod­ern­iza­tion pro­gram ac­cel­er­ated un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

The U.S. mil­i­tary would use the money to mod­ern­ize the in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­sile sys­tem at the heart of Wy­oming’s F.E. War­ren Air Force Base.

As­signed to the U.S. Air Force Global Strike Com­mand, War­ren Air Force base is one of the three strate­gic mis­sile bases in the U.S. The fa­cil­ity is also home to the Twen­ti­eth Air Force, which com­mands all of USAF’s in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal bal­lis­tic mis­siles (ICBMs).

The base, es­tab­lished in 1867, houses around 150 Min­ute­man III ICBMs in hard­ened un­der­ground si­los.

The up­grades pro­gram will in­clude con­crete pour­ing for new mis­sile si­los and the con­struc­tion of new build­ings that will house im­proved com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems to make the ICBM net­work more ef­fi­cient.

De­vel­oped by mil­i­tary gi­ant Boe­ing, the Min­ute­man mis­sile was first launched in 1961 and re­mains the U.S. mil­i­tary’s only land-based ICBM in ser­vice.

The mis­sile is ca­pa­ble of car­ry­ing three nu­clear war­heads and de­liv­er­ing them to tar­gets around 13,000 kilo­me­ters (8,100 miles) away.

War­ren had also housed Peace­keeper ICBMs be­fore they were re­tired in 2005 for re­li­a­bil­ity is­sues. The ex­pen­sive mis­siles en­tered ser­vice in 1986 and could carry up to 10 war­heads.

In Au­gust, the USAF (United States Air Force) an­nounced that it had hired Boe­ing and Northrop Grum­man to de­velop a re­place­ment for the Min­ute­man III.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is work­ing on a new nu­clear weapons pol­icy that would end the post-Cold War dis­arma- ment and al­low Wash­ing­ton to ex­pand its ar­se­nal.

Wash­ing­ton is cur­rently keep­ing some 450 long-range nu­clear mis­siles in un­der­ground si­los across the U.S., in ad­di­tion to an undis­closed num­ber de­ployed to its mil­i­tary bases in Europe.

Trump and his top na­tional se­cu­rity ad­vis­ers dis­cussed the mat­ter in Septem­ber at the White House, where the first draft of the new Nu­clear Pos­ture Re­view (NPR) was pre­sented.

Be­sides mis­siles, the U.S. nu­clear triad fea­tures a rel­a­tively large num­ber of age­ing nu­clear bombers and sub­marines in need of mod­ern­iza­tion.

The Pen­tagon says it needs $350 bil­lion to up­grade the whole triad along with Amer­ica’s some 7,000 nu­clear war­heads. Some re­ports put the cost at around $1 tril­lion.

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