Defence Notes

US military leaders outline future modernisation of ICBM and deterrence strategy

14th February 2020 - 15:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Adm Charles A Richard, head of US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) outlined future plans for the modernisation of US ICBM, submarines and strategic bombers during a 13 February hearing in the US Senate.

As part of the proposed FY2021 defence budget, the DoD will fund the first Columbia-class submarine to replace the retiring Ohio-class fleet which is said to be nearing the end of its service life.

Richard said that ‘we are reaching physics and engineering limits such that you cannot extend it’.

Furthermore, he indicated that the Minuteman III ICBM will need to be replaced by another Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which the DoD hopes will be fully operational by 2036.

Finally, Richard confirmed that the B-52 bombers in use by the USAF will remain in service for an additional 30 years with planned upgrades, but the B-2 stealth bomber will be phased out and replaced by the B-21, beginning in the 2030s.

During the hearing, USAF General Terrence J O’Shaughnessy, commander of US Northern Command, also highlighted the need for the US to invest in hypersonic weapons and research to counter activities of Russia and China, which have carried out joint exercises in recent months. 

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