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.
This article was published in Global Security Newswire, which is produced independently by National Journal Group under contract with the Nuclear Threat Initiative. NTI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group working to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons.