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U.S. Nuclear Weapons Upgrade Sees Delay on Leaky Silos, Old Tech

U.S. Nuclear Weapons Upgrade Sees Delay on Leaky Silos, Old Tech,

Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg News,  (Bloomberg) 7 May 21, — Upgrading America’s nuclear missile arsenal will likely take longer than expected because of the complexities of pulling 1970s-era ICBMs out of aging silos and testing and installing replacement missiles and technology to run the system for decades to come, according to a congressional audit.

The Air Force faces the complicated challenge of removing a total of about 400 Minuteman-III intercontinental ballistic missiles and their command-and-control electronics at the rate of about 50 per year from silos and support buildings in various states of deterioration, some with water damage, the Government Accountability Office said in a report Thursday.

The difficulties — which include extracting the missiles and nuclear payloads from the silos, repairing any structural decay, and installing customized electronics and the new weapon, all while maintaining other nuclear systems on alert — mean the new ICBM won’t likely meet an initial 2029 deadline, the declassified GAO report warned.

“The Air Force is using multiple strategies to ensure on-time fielding, including financial incentives for the contractor to meet milestones,” of the Northrop Grumman Corp. program, according to the report. “Nevertheless, program schedule delays are likely” for reasons such as the complicated replacement process.

Modernizing the nation’s Cold War-era capacity to deliver nuclear weapons by air, land and sea — the so-called nuclear triad — remains a key Pentagon priority under the Biden administration after it was jumpstarted by President Barack Obama and continued by President Donald Trump. The effort is expected to cost as much as $1.2 trillion through 2046 for development, purchase and long-term support, the Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2018.

Read the full GAO report on the nuclear triad here……….


May 8, 2021 - Posted by | safety, USA, weapons and war

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