Pentagon Eyes Developing Longer-Range Cruise Missile

A U.S. Navy officer poses next to Tomahawk cruise missiles onboard the attack submarine USS Hampton. The Defense Department last week requested information on the potential development of a longer-range cruise missile.
A U.S. Navy officer poses next to Tomahawk cruise missiles onboard the attack submarine USS Hampton. The Defense Department last week requested information on the potential development of a longer-range cruise missile. (Vincent Yu/AFP/Getty Images)

The U.S. Defense Department is weighing development of a new, non-nuclear cruise missile to hit "important" targets from long distances, War is Boring reports.

The Pentagon last week requested information on the potential for a relatively affordable conventional cruise missile with a price tag under $2 million and a maximum flight distance greater than 3,400 miles, the news publication said in a Wednesday article. The "standoff" weapon's range would enable it to be fired outside the reach of arms held by possible antagonists.

The proposal is the result of a Defense Science Board assessment of options for the U.S. military to attain a technological edge over its adversaries around 2030. The Pentagon-convened panel of outside experts advises Defense leaders on technological issues.

"The system would be designed to complement strategic prompt global strike capability," the October document says, referring to a developmental U.S. capacity to conduct a non-nuclear strike against any location in the world in one hour or less.

"Because [a longer-range cruise missile] could be produced at far lower costs, this would allow adequate numbers of weapons to engage multiple targets simultaneously [and] saturate enemy countermeasures," the report states. "It would not be as precise as some more costly systems, but instead trades a higher probability of detection and somewhat larger vulnerability for cost."

The Pentagon advisory panel warned about possible international repercussions, though, saying that "the policy implications of deploying an intercontinental, precision cruise missile with a capacity to carry relatively heavy payloads are significant."

The potential for cruise missiles to carry nuclear as well as conventional payloads may factor into global responses to the proposed longer-range weapon, War is Boring said.

April 25, 2014
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The U.S. Defense Department is weighing development of a new, non-nuclear cruise missile to hit "important" targets from long distances, War is Boring reports.

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