The end of U.S. Space Shuttle launches three years ago has boosted the cost of fuel for British nuclear missiles, the London Telegraph reports.
The price of the solid fuel used in Trident 2 D-5 submarine-launched ballistic missiles leaped by 80 percent in just one year, the newspaper said in a Tuesday report. The United Kingdom maintains 58 of the U.S.-supplied weapons under a 1982 bilateral defense pact.
Washington is now limiting its annual purchases of the weapons to the minimum necessary to keep the fuel market afloat, prompting concern among some officials, according to the Telegraph.
Vice Adm. Terry Benedict, director of the U.S. Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, warned last month that the absence of fuel demand from the Space Shuttle program is posing problems for an “already-fragile industry.”
The United Kingdom, though, said such concerns had not altered missile cooperation with Washington, or a pending plan to revamp the British nuclear force.
“The U.S. has supplied the U.K. with solid fuel-powered missiles for over 40 years with an excellent safety and reliability record. The U.K. also has a sufficient pool of Trident missiles to meet our needs for decades to come,” a British defense ministry spokeswoman said.
One agency insider, though, said the United States has yet to determine how it will ensure continued supplies of missile fuel.
The U.S. Navy wants NASA to purchase solid-fuel boosters for a next-generation rocket system, potentially stabilizing the market, the Telegraph reported. The U.S. space agency is slated to start work on the planned Space Launch System in 2017.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.