The United States Air Force is requesting new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) to replace the currently used weapons from the 1970s. The cost of maintaining its 40-year-old ICBM weapons comes at a high price financially and operationally. An ICBM replacement missile will provide military capability to continue U.S. nuclear deterrence. The Air Force is in dire need of a new missile that can adapt to continuing and emerging threats at a more affordable cost.
ICBMs are a critical component of the nuclear triad, which also includes submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and heavy bombers. ICBMs are the cheapest, most-reliable component of this triad, and together, the three legs of the nuclear triad ensure that the U.S. can protect its security and interests and those of its allies. Modernization of all three legs of the triad remains an integral part of the U.S. security posture.
The Minuteman III, the current ICBM used in the United States’ weapons system, was deployed in the 1970s. While other nations modernized their ICBM capabilities, the United States has been relying on a technology that dates back to the same year as the invention of the floppy disk. Russia is producing a new ICBM with a completion date in 2018 that will replace its Cold War–era counterpart and has plans to build 130 new nuclear weapons and a new strategic bomber.
Full article: U.S. Air Force Calls for Update on Floppy Disk–Era ICBMs (The Daily Signal)