U.S. Air Force to integrate new nuclear cruise missile on B-52H Stratofortress
U.S. aerospace manufacturer Boeing received a potential contract to help the U.S. Air Force integrate an air-launched cruise missile system, which will replace the AGM 86 nuclear cruise missile, on a B-52H Stratofortress bomber aircraft, according to U.S. Department of Defense.
The contract, from U.S. Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and announced on Wednesday, is valued at $250 million.
The DoD has reported that this contract provides for aircraft and missile carriage equipment development and modification, engineering, testing, software development, training, facilities, and support necessary to fully integrate the Long Range Stand-Off Cruise Missile (LRSO) on the B-52H bomber platform.
“Work will be performed in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2024,” said in a DoD’s statement.
The Air Force will obligate $6.3M in fiscal 2019 research and development funds at the time of award.
Whilу, Senate defense and intelligence lawmaker, Sen. Dianne Feinstein early said that LRSO is a modern proposed nuclear weapon system.
“I believe it is in fact a new nuclear weapon,” Feinstein told Mattis, saying much of what informed her opinion was classified.
The new nuclear cruise missiles designing to strike targets that neither an intercontinental ballistic missile nor a submarine launched ballistic missile can strike.
The B-52 cannot penetrate adversary air defenses; therefore, without the LRSO, the B-52 will cease to play a role in the nuclear mission once the AGM-86 is retired, and the retirement of this weapon might occur before the B-21 is operational in the nuclear role in significant numbers. If the AGM 86 nuclear cruise missile becomes obsolete well in advance of retirement, then the B-52 could become irrelevant in the nuclear role by the late 2020s.