Air Force to Present Plan for Modernizing Nuclear Missiles in July

The Air Force has completed a study of options for modernizing its strategic nuclear missile arsenal and will present the plan next month.

The "analysis of alternatives" for maintaining a ground-based strategic deterrent is to be briefed to interested companies on July 16 at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, Inside Defense reported on Wednesday, citing a federal notice.

The assessment is understood to have looked at a number of alternatives including maintaining the existing Minuteman 3 missile arsenal through small-scale substitutions of aging components with newer ones; overhauling the Minuteman 3 with enhanced modular parts that can better respond to changing threats; and developing an entirely new class of intercontinental ballistic missile that could be placed in either a "super-hardened" underground launch center or on special mobile transporters.

The issue of cost is expected to be a key factor in whatever alternative officials will ultimately pick, according to previous comments by senior Global Strike Command officials.

Earlier this year, the Air Force said it intended in fiscal 2016 to select a contractor for the ICBM modernization program. The service anticipates the Minuteman 3 arsenal will remain operational until 2030. The Air Force wants to maintain a ground-based nuclear missile capability until 2075.

June 27, 2014
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The Air Force has completed a study of options for modernizing its strategic nuclear missile arsenal and will present the plan next month.

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